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Being accountable to someone is one of the hardest things in our Christian walk as it means we give another person permission to correct us. Most of us do not like to be corrected, even when we know our behaviour is inappropriate. Also, holding our friend accountable can be difficult at times, especially when we feel our behaviour isn’t up to the standard we are correcting. However, we are all becoming more and more like Christ each day, as we die to self and accountability is necessary and vital to growing together as a body, if it is from a place of love and extended grace.
What is accountability
To be accountable is to be liable to account for one’s actions to someone else . At judgement. we will all be accountable to God (Matthew 12:36; Hebrews 4:13), however, the accountability described in this article is in relation to our daily lives as Christians. We are not supposed to do life alone. We can have accountability to make the whole walk lighter. Someone to share the burdens of our day to day lives as Christians (Galatians 6:2). Christ carries all our burdens, but our friend can comfort us in them. There will be situations that a friend who understands our struggles can inject with wisdom.
Two are better off than one, for they help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real troubleEcclesiastes 4:9-10
Most times our accountability is our friends or peers on a similar journey to our own. They will be around us the most and see how we truly live our lives up close. These are the best types of foundations for accountability, ones of friendship. Friends that holds us accountable call us out on our behaviour, ask questions about our lifestyle and check us on our character. However, this should all be done in love, for the betterment of us.
Why accountability matters
Accountability can reveal secrets and expose patterns of behaviours in our life that we did not want to deal with, as it rightly should. When David tried to hide the sin he had committed, God sent Nathan to hold him accountable (See 2 Samuel 12:1-15). Nathan called David out on what he had done, through the revelation of God, which led David to confess and seek forgiveness (2 Samuel 12:13). We may not always see our behaviour until someone calls it out.
Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemyProverbs 27:5-6
We also need to be humble enough to accept correction. Nathan simply pointed out what David had done as the Lord directed. It was David who realised his sin and repented. Having said that, we should not take advice from just anyone. It is not everyone’s opinion that should carry the same weight. We have to decide on the voices that we allow to have an impact on our life.
So, who gets to “call us out”?
Although we do not have to be friends with only Christians, the people closest to us that really speak into our lives should understand what we are truly about. Jim Rohn says, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. We are warned in the bible on the type of people we entertain in our lives (Proverbs 13:20). The impact they have on our decisions, speech, conduct and character in the long term.
Do not be misled “Bad company corrupts good character”1 Corinthians 15:33
As “Bad company can corrupt”, good company can influence. Jesus surrounded himself with 12 disciples who He taught and together, they did life. They were not perfect but eventually, as they spent time with Christ, they began to understand who Christ was and what He stood for. Their lives were changed by their relationship with Christ, as ours, as Christians, is being transformed. We may not have a group as large as that to do our everyday life with, and we do not need one. One person that we can be accountable to is more efficient than thousands who only applaud but never correct.
Ultimately, accountability is more than correction; it is more than sharing our secrets. True accountability creates spaces for transparency. We can only be truly accountable if the relationship enables us to be open and honest. The right friendships that allow for accountability can be life-changing. A support system that can encourage, bless, edify and love on one another through a mutual love of God (Hebrews 10:24-25).