Monday, February 9, 2009


There has been a lot of talk about the "A" word lately. Brothers and sisters who are in support of the concept are very enthusiastic, largely because forming accountability groups or making themselves accountable to a few trusted fellow Christians has shown real fruit in their lives. They have been able to experience degrees of victory over different areas of temptation that, in some cases, had had control over them for years.

Those opposed to the idea of accountability within the Body are equally strong in their standpoint that accountability is more like control and a superficial solution to a deeper problem. My good friend David put it this way: "Accountability is like a prison. Sure it keeps you from sinning but it doesn't solve the problem in your heart."

Could it be that some of us would be better off to royally mess up and have our hearts exposed and healed than to keep everything in check our whole lives by a valiant effort of our flesh? Can God be trusted to keep us from temptation that is too great for us?

On the other hand, I wonder if sometimes prison is necessary for us when we find ourselves exuding behaviour that is causing unnecessary pain to ourselves or others. I suppose then the question would be, how effective is the rehabilitation process? It is not enough to lock ourselves up and throw away the key. In that place of being supported by brothers and sisters whose primary objective is to love and not to control, are we playing an active role in praying for one another and truly bearing one another's burdens to the point that we are committed to walking arm-in-arm, through thick and thin, until the victory has been had? Have we created a model for a "good Christian" that shames anyone who doesn't measure up and excludes anyone with an honest struggle from being viewed on an equal playing field?

Perhaps the invitation is not so much to "accountability" to one another but rather real, honest relationship. Where we relate to one another in our daily lives, without pretention, confessing our sins to one another and bearing one another's burdens. Fighting for one another and along side one another as we move corporately toward the only One to Whom we most certainly will give an account one day.


  1. This whole thing about relating without pretention..... This has to be to close the generation gap. This has been the gap.........
    Those fathers (not gender specific) who are willing to lay themselves bare will cease to be the cause of the great divide between the generations. This is what I believe. I believe this is the Father's heart. Instead of pointing fingers, lets continue to fight for one another's hearts. Judy.

  2. Hey Paul/Janna,

    So good to see you both via your heart thoughts here.
    I loved what you shared, thanks.

    Here is my thought on what you said.
    The conversion from mistrust to trust is a confident quest seeking the spiritual meaning of human existence. Grace abounds and walks around the edges of our everyday experience.

  3. For some reason the word 'accountability' makes my skin crawl. It could be that it's just been so over used by the church. Somewhere in my heart though I feel like it keeps us focused on ourselves, our own efforts to redeem our mess. I think it can look like a warm blanket to most, I know it has to me. Years later though I see it as a warm blanket of fear. Fear... It had warm exterior that felt warm and soft to the touch but somewhere sewn into the tapestry is a belief that I needed something more than 'just' Jesus to deal with my pain. Only the soft beckoning of the Holy Spirit can give a heart courage to unravel another layer of our pain and release it unto Healing. It takes courage. Healing is messy and it normally never looks like what we anticipated. Despite the best intentions of someone in my life their words will fall on deaf ears if the Holy Spirit isn't softening that sensitive part of my heart already. I think we need to release the idea of trying to save each other, trying to save ourselves and simply BE there for the people in our lives. There is no system to healing. Accountability is yet just another system of control to me. It is one more way that we think WE can control our flesh. The one person that I need to keep uttering to is Jesus. He is my comforter, He is my redeemer, He is my friend. After I have rambled to Him if there is someone that I can share that conversation with than I am blessed. But if there isn't......... than that doesn't diminish His power to set me free in the least. I don't need accountability I need Him. I think I'm just finally letting that seep into my pores. He IS ENOUGH. It is HIS LOVE that I need to feel, to bask in and let it penetrate the roots of my soul. Whatever relationships transpire during or after this time is a gift. I think the important thing is to allow those relationships to happen without expectations. It just might not be who we expect. I think expectations make us look for the person WE WANT to help us in our time of need rather than letting God send whomever he desires. This opens up the playing field big time and it releases those around us to respond freely to His direction. It will make me less disappointed too. "A life lived in love will only work out of a growing trust in God to provide for us and show us how to love people he has put near us." That is all we need to be concerned about. Jesus will BE the love within us, that will enable us to love the people around us. Out of that... yes... we just might be blessed with friends that allow us to fall at their feet in a time of need. I think a massive part of this is that we just need to accept people just as they are. JUST AS THEY CURRENTLY ARE. That is massive to me. The other part is then trusting that God will change them in time. Not my time... but their time. I read once that "accepting them as people does not mean you condone their behavior or beliefs. It simply means you respect their humanity enough to let them work through the process. People open their lives to those who accept them the way they are and run from those who are always trying to change them into what they think they should be". I think this is a good base and wherever God takes my relationships I want it to be with that foundation. I desire to be that soft place to fall and I know I am so blessed to have my own soft places to fall when I need a friend to rub my back and tell me they'll be there while I walk whatever is currently on my plate, through. The circle of Grace. It's beautiful.

    So anyways that my 2 cents :)