The Nature of Responsibility

Where does my responsibility end and another’s begin?

The spiritual masters I’ve read or listened to have said that we are one hundred percent responsible for our own lives.

Does that mean a parent is no longer responsible to help her child, once he or she is grown up?  Or a sister to help her brother if he loses his job?  Or a wife to care for her ailing husband and vice versa?  Or one friend to help another through a crisis?

Are these simply choices we make outside the confines of responsibility?

I guess the distinction to be drawn here is between desire to help and responsibility.

And here is where I get caught up in semantics.  Is it my responsibility to help or my choice?  And where do I draw the line between being helpful and interfering with another’s life path?

This is what drives me nuts.  Because I need to be helpful, especially if I believe someone I care about is going down a very wrong path.

Do I have the right to step in?  To insist on doing things my way because I’ve been down that road and know I’m right?  Or is the person going through a life lesson that can’t be learned unless directly experienced?

I tried to find the answer in the book by Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God (Book 1).

And if I’m getting this correctly, we are told that we have no obligations of any kind other than to discover “who we really are,” and to seek our highest good.  Because our highest good is also the highest good of another—that it all boils down to love.

So, I conclude from this that if we love someone—a child, a spouse, a friend—what we might consider “responsibility” is actually our wanting to help them by loving and caring for them in whatever way we can.  But it is their responsibility to choose what is best for them to accept, or reject, in living their own lives as “who they really are.”

Easier said than done.  And I’m not even sure if this makes any sense.  Maybe it will become clearer as I continue to learn.



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