stronger than guilt

I don't like "responsibility" as a motivator, but I find myself reluctant to ask someone to do something just to please or satisfy me; I'm more likely to insist that the person just do what's right, or considerate, or be trustworthy when they promise something. And that's really the same kind of motivation, with guilt involved if they fail. And often anger on my part if I think they aren't doing what's right or considerate or trustworthy.

I know I should approach the other person with vulnerability rather than anger, but I find myself so quickly going the other way when I feel hurt or scared.

Perhaps what's getting through to me lately is that anger and insistence on being responsible (whether or not I use that word) is often just not enough to motivate people to do better. Even when they want to do the right thing, and hate the guilt, often long-standing habits and simple personal weaknesses are just too much for their repeated efforts. That's made me depressed at times. Thinking the person just can't change (or I just can't change).

But some recent experiences have reminded me that there is a strength beyond our strength. Their is a motivator that's more powerful than fear or guilt. And even when we truly can't overcome our weaknesses no matter how much we want to, there may indeed be a way to overcome them and do "the good that we want." That way is love. The love that comes from God and is the power of God.

That's why, when we are wronged, the approach of humility and vulnerability is usually better. Because it is more likely to stir love in others who care for us. Letting them know our suffering or fears that are caused by their behavior, not demanding they change and "be responsible" but asking that they respond to our suffering because they love us. If we're being honest (not manipulative) I believe we can count on God to be the source of that love if the person is at all open to it. And that means the power of God is available to help them overcome their weaknesses and habits and actually do what they want to in their love for us.