Accountability

I’ve recently been thinking about the idea of Christian accountability.

If I’m honest, this word has been a source of fear, and a reason for avoidance in my past nine years as a Christian. But it shouldn’t be.

Why was I scared of this dreaded word, Accountability? For many who are Christians, or who are in a church, accountability equates to rules, regulations, a list of ‘donts’ and a harsh rebuking if you mess up. Quite often in churches, accountability is empty of grace, and full of condemnation. But should this be?

I would suggest not. The Bible doesn’t talk of accountability between two people as a condemning thing. Rather, it says the following:

1 Thessalonians 5:11 – Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Ephesians 4:25 – Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth, each one of you, with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.

James 5:16 – Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Proverbs 12:15 – The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.

Of course, when we look at accountability in these terms, it is a wonderful thing to be accountable. It is full of encouragement, it’s about truth, and it’s about seeking the wisdom of other Christians, and in turn, giving it back.

Many think that accountability is all about talking out and getting rid of the sin. This is only half of the story. Accountability is also about telling someone what things are going well, building up friendship, and just hanging out.

It’s also important to mention that if you are accountable to someONE then you should be accountable to two people. I would highly suggest a peer, and also someone within your church or another Christian who is older and wiser than you. Sometimes, the older the better! They have a lot more life experience, they’ve made the mistakes in some cases, and can prevent you from making those exact mistakes.

It’s quite upsetting to see people just being accountable to peers, and not seeking the wisdom and advice from other wiser Christians. If we merely stay accountable within our peer group, we come under the temptation to just confess and commit the same mistakes over and over again. I’ve commented on this before. It’s a way of escapism and making ourselves feel better. As for me, I’m accountable to my best friend, Rob who I live with and who sees nearly my every move. I’m also accountable to my Vicar/Friend/Boss, Justin. He’s great to talk to, and really easy to share with, but says the things that need to be said, and gives directions to get out of a sticky situation. This is the sort of accountability partner we need.

I think the church will be a much healthier body if we stick to Biblical descriptions of accountability, and if we seek to be men and women who graciously deal with each other, keeping in mind that we are friends, brothers and sisters, who need direction, but also love, encouragement and protection.


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Dean Roberts

Dean is a Minister in the Anglican Church. Currently he is Curate in the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry in South Wales. He was born and bred in Wales, is married to Megan, and has two dogs called Taliesin and Melyn, and two cats named Sinsir and Hâf. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BA Hons. in Theology & Religious Studies, and has studied for an MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He also holds a Cert.RSCM from the Royal School of Church Music. He loves playing music, walking, reading, blogging and horse riding as well as going to the cinema and theatre. Read More @ http://deanroberts.net/about

  • Michael

    ‘The aim of accountability should not be to separate you from your past, but to join you to your future’

    • Amen to that!