It’s the word that no one likes to hear. It’s uncomfortable. It’s intimidating. And at times, it’s downright frightening. The mere mention of this word brings to mind a myriad of emotions and rarely are any of them positive ones. But regardless of how negative our perception of this word might be, we all know we need to hear it and more importantly, we need to do it!
What is it that word? ACCOUNTABILITY
No one likes to admit it, but we all know it’s true. WE NEED HELP. The problems we are struggling with are simply too big to handle on our own (if they weren’t too big, then they wouldn’t be problems anymore right?).
It’s not that we don’t want to handle them on our own, but we simply can’t. They’re too big and too heavy. As I once wrote about in my "Confessions of an Independent-aholic": If you could’ve you would’ve, but you can’t so you won’t.
Now that you’ve come to that realization – that you can’t carry your burdens on your own – you find yourself at a crossroads. You have to make one of the most important decisions of your life.
Do you want to GET better or simply LOOK better?
Don’t answer too quickly. What’s your goal? Is your goal to solve the problem? Or is it to give the appearance that you’ve got no problems? Do you want to be healed – really healed? Or do you just want to avoid letting people find out that you’re sick? Which one is it? Do you want to look good? Or do you want to actually be good?
If you only care about appearances, then let me be the first to tell you that accountability is not for you. It will destroy your ability to put up a false front and pretend to be something you’re not. It will force you to have to deal with the real issue inside – instead of just treating the symptoms. But if you do care about healing – real healing that goes deep inside to the roots – then you need accountability. You may not like it, but you need it.
What is accountability? What does it look like? And why is it so important? Often we hate the concept of accountability because we have an incorrect idea of what it is.
A group of guys gets together and agrees to hold each other accountable. They agree that if anyone falls into a certain sin, he will put $5 into a jar. And at the end, whoever fell into the sin the least would collect all the money. Is that accountability?
A group of ladies meet together weekly. Every week, someone comes with a new struggle or problem and shares it with the group. The rest of the group listens and offers sympathy but that’s just about it. Not much more. Just sharing and crying. Is that accountability?
The correct answer to both of those scenarios is…NO! Accountability is more than a sympathy session and it’s definitely more than a gambling tournament. Think of accountability as coaching. It is one on one coaching with someone who can help guide you to where you need to go and can also help you get there as well.
1) Accountability offers CHALLENGE, not just sympathy.
Accountability is not a support group. The goal is not just to cry with one another, but rather to challenge one another to improve. That’s what Jesus did. In John 8, He met a woman who was caught in adultery and He said to her “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:11).
Notice that He first offered her sympathy (neither do I condemn you) and then offered her challenge (go and sin no more). That is how accountability should work.
2) Accountability requires SPECIFIC CONFESSION, not general confession.
The more specific the better. Here your accountability partner is like your physician. You need to reveal your exact problem in order to get the best treatment. Being vague with your accountability partner and saying “I struggle with lust” when really the truth is that you’re considering cheating on your husband, is like telling your primary care doctor that “you have a boo boo” when you have a broken nose! He’ll never be able to treat you unless you offer the specifics.
3) Accountability needs SCHEDULED/CONSISTENT follow up.
Healing takes time. Prepare for it in advance by scheduling follow up with your accountability partner and not relying on your mood at the time. SCHEDULE IT NOW!
Do you want to get better or look better? A wise man once said, “Allow yourself to be held accountable, because accountability before man is a stepping stone to integrity before God.”
Be honest: what do you think would happen to your struggle if you got a good accountability partner to help you?