Relationships die when one or both parties refuse to accept responsibility and take ownership for their behavior. If a husband refuses to listen to his wife and/or cannot be corrected by anyone at anytime, the relationship is doomed. If an argument ensues and a wife refuses to take responsibility for her part in the skirmish, the relationship is destined for failure.
Putting this in the context of God’s relationship with His own people, check out what Zephaniah 3:1-2 says:
“Woe to her who is rebellious and defiled,
The tyrannical city!
She heeded no voice,
She accepted no instruction.
She did not trust in the Lord,
She did not draw near to her God.”
Look at these four things Israel did that broke fellowship with God:
1) She heeded no voice – she refused to listen to anyone or accept instruction. Her way was the only way, period.
2) She accepted no instruction – she refused all correction and accountability. She would not take ownership of her sin.
3) She did not trust in the Lord – she found her security in her own ability. She had an, “I can do it myself” mentality.
4) She did not draw near to her God – because of her aloof attitude toward God she could not draw near to Him.
I just find it interesting the order of these four things – it starts out with a refusal to listen, then a refusal to take ownership, then a refusal to trust, which resulted in a refusal (and an inability) to draw close to God.
Applying this to our own relationships the same thing happens – when we refuse correction and close ourselves off to accountability it will result in us finding security in ourselves (pride), which will ultimately result in relational distance. This distance will start in our relationship with God but then it manifests in our human relationships.
To be truly intimate with others we must first be vulnerable. And vulnerability is founded on humility. A humble person is an accountable person – someone who’s not only willing to listen to others but to also admit when they’re wrong, to take ownership of their part of the problem. Taking ownership is one of the tell-tale signs of spiritual maturity – without it the relational closeness we desperately desire with God and others will be replaced by distance. That’s no way to live.
So today, let’s refuse to allow distance in our relationship by being willing to take ownership.