The church tends to latch onto certain buzz words. One that has sprung up in my life time is accountability. The need to be accountable is almost beaten into us through various conferences, Bible reading notes and churches. Small groups are created to foster this level of relationship. But I’m worried. I’m worried that the buzzword has become more important than acceptance and relationship.
Some might say that relationship can grow through accountability and I’m sure a form of it can, but for me I’ve always struggled, struggled because I’ve felt the pressure “to be accountable” – but not had the relationships (within the church at least) to the level that I would feel comfortable sharing all that I would need to share.
Accountability seems so robotic; and cold that it holds almost no attraction to me. Why would I want a performance review on my personality? I’m not saying that I don’t want people in my life who tell me to wind my neck in, but for it to have any sort of power I need them to know me, really know me. I need them to have a friendship with me that is at least as good as my friendships with those who don’t share my beliefs. I need to know that if I choose to share my deepest struggles with them, they are not going to add to my guilt or make me feel more ashamed than I already do. I don’t want them to ask “How are you doing with that?” every time I see them, and cross it off their to do list.
In short I need to know I am accepted first, I need to know that this person is not going to change their relationship with me because of what I tell them. I do not need a professional Christian but a fellow sinner trying to do their best. Someone who knows what it is like to feel guilty about something one moment and then repeat the same mistake the next. I don’t think I want to be a part of a church that asks “Who are you accountable to?” but instead one that asks “Who are your friends?”
When I look at the life of Jesus I don’t see a guy whose first thought was ‘I wonder if she drank too much last night.’ or ‘I better check when he last looked at porn.’ I see someone who reclined with those the religious rejected as beneath them, someone who gave honour and respect to those society degraded. If I went for a pint with Jesus tomorrow, I think he would ask how I was, not what mistakes I’d made recently.
Perhaps if we promoted acceptance, grace and relationship we would find that we don’t need to promote accountability so aggressively because it’s happening in a way we could never have imagined.
Anthony Baker said:
Reblogged this on The Recovering Legalist and commented:
Nick does a great job on a fresh look at an old word. As a matter of fact, it’s over due for a “grace check-up.”
Saleama A. Ruvalcaba said:
Very good point. I never looked at it from that point-of-view. Yes we need accountability, but more than anything we need true relationships! That’s where I believe the accountability will manifest into true discipleship. Thanks. Very good.
Thanks! I in no way want to be on my own but sometimes the mechanisms we explore faith with actually do more harm than good!
I totally agree! God is the only person your accountable to..and thats the way it should be. He knows our hearts best and why we struggle with what we struggle with. And he knows what we need. I think its weird to expect others to open their hearts up to you for only that reason. I open up to those I trust and respect many of them outside of the church. Sometimes we just need to be heard with no backlash of judgement.
Thanks for your comment. It does seem that we sometimes think it’s our job to keep someone else on the straight and narrow! It’s hard enough doing that for myself!
We can’t expect perfection from anyone..let alone ourselves. And God is the only one that can make a true change in anyones life. We are just the vessels. I think being there for, and truly caring for someone else is powerful. It shows Christs unconditional love no matter who or what we are.
Well said Nick, and I hope you have plenty of friends to share life with on this level. It’s great reading your blogs- it’s been a while since I saw you (CYM graduation) but thank God every time I read, and hope life is going well for you 🙂
Brandon Adams said:
Agreed; accountability is kinda pointless without friendship and grace. After all, that’s how God does it with us.
I’ve heard a fair bit about “accountability” in Christian circles. As far as I know it’s an American idea, and I’m fascinated to see a lack of Bible verses in your post to give the concept merit.
I am all too well aware that many Churches try to get “carte blanche” control of their congregation playing the “membership” card, and asking folk to sign up to stuff which at best is well intentioned, and at worst a document to hand power to an insecure few.
Do I need a third party to “help” me through my difficulties? Not really. Do I value input from people of integrity who have never tried to “Lord it over me?” yes, at times.
Yes. I think of the passage about the plank and spec. And how the point was too sort yourself out to help someone else. Not to point out their flaws. But letting go of control is messy and hard for people, however i think it’s necessary!
Hey there! I’ve been reading your weblog for a long time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and
give you a shout out from Porter Tx! Just wanted to say keep up the
This is great! Great word! All I can say is great! Thanks for sharing!
Shattered in Him said:
Shared on the FB page: https://www.facebook.com/shatteredinhim/
Adam Desmond said:
Accountability is like sex. Outside of the proper context of a loving marriage, sex does more harm than good. That isn’t to say that accountability is wrong or evil, but is designed to be experienced within a loving, committed relationship.
I’m not sure I want to see your accountability sessions now! Haha. Good way of putting it though!
Adam Desmond said:
Yeah, it’s an awkward, snicker-inducing analogy, but when you think about the level of trust and intimacy required for real accountability to happen, I think it makes sense.
Couldn’t agree more. 🙂