“What "Accountability" Is and Isn't”Categories: Christian Attitudes, Christian Living, The Church, Tuesday Email Devo
“Accountability” is talked about frequently in churches of all types. We recognize the need for it when we think about overcoming sin in our lives in view of passages like Hebrews 10:24 (“let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works”), Galatians 6:1 (“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness”), or Eccl. 4:9-10 (“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow”).
But we have a bit of trouble understanding what accountability truly should be.
Our brother Edwin Crozier points out that it’s not supposed to be just over-the-shoulder monitoring, which is how we most often think of it. He says:
“We most commonly say, ‘I’ve got to find someone to hold me accountable. They’re gonna look over my shoulder.’ And so we go to that person and we say, ‘Look, here’s my problem. I would like for you to just call me every once in awhile and ask me how I’m doing with that.’
This is a plan for failure. Not only is it a plan for failure; it’s a plan for failure that plans to allow you blame someone else. Because who have you given ownership of your spiritual growth to? That person who’s supposed to be looking over my shoulder. And so, when they get busy and they don’t call you and you stumble and fall, then we think, ‘That’s not my fault; that’s your fault, y’know? You were supposed to call me. What can I do? We all know I can’t do this on my own, but you didn’t call me.’”
There’s a major difference between thinking, “I need someone to keep me accountable” and thinking, “I’m going to find someone to whom I will be accountable.” I do encourage you to seek some accountability if you’re looking for help overcoming sin. You can’t do it alone, and you need to admit that and find some help, especially when you are willing to admit that your sin is controlling you. But make sure you find someone to offer you the right kind of accountability. Not that you turn your pursuit of God solely into their responsibility, but that you have determined to seek God, and you want someone that can help you win the battle which you are already ardently fighting.
- Dan Lankford, minister