Wednesday, November 12, 2008


What does this word mean to modern man? In today’s climate it seems the popular thing to do is point fingers, give excuses, and deflect blame. I mean…who really wants to be responsible for their every action, decision, and word…right? Plus there is an added dynamic that being “held accountable” comes with some not-so-fun aspect of being called out on failures. Not IF they happen but rather WHEN they happen. This eventual certainty leaves many of us dreading the correction that comes from the figures in our lives that hold such a role.

In Christian circles we have something called accountability groups. When I first heard of such craziness the following thoughts were entertained:

· Who would willingly tell a bunch of guys/girls everything about themselves?
· Do they really tell each other EVERYTHING?
· What if someone confesses to something just off the charts crazy?
· What if I was that person and everyone ended up just staring at me blankly with jaws dropped?
· After “telling all” who wants to then sit and listen to the group tell you how wrong you are and how to fix yourself?
· Ah…those groups are for guys that NEED constant correction because they cannot control some kind of addiction/sin/behavior in their lives.
· Will I have to hold hands and sing Coom By Ya!?

Granted, much of these thoughts had perished by the time I first started meeting with three close friends from church but an inkling of these former, self-preservation ideas still remained, unsure of what I might expect. My concerns must have been more common than I first thought as several of the first meetings were punctuated with surface-driven chatter, most of which was an update on all things business. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy being able to discuss my business dealings with other professionals but what about our families, our marriages, and our individual walks with Christ?

Well, we’ve begun transitioning into that very place and I must report…it’s great. I am not sure when it happened to me but my guess was somewhere around the fourth grade. I became painfully aware that complete transparency, sincerity, and genuine depth of character was not a good package to present in a dog-eat-dog prep school. I gave my bullies more than enough ammunition to take digs and pot shots at random for years. I finally got good at “playing the game”. Dad called it “Fake It Till You Make It.” You did what you had to do survive even if that meant sacrificing the genuine you.

Perhaps we all go through a similar transition. And perhaps that explains the general reluctance to have REAL, DEEP, MEANINGFUL relationships with people. But I find that sad. And for my most recent experiences with these men…I can no longer let fourth grade haunt me!

Post Script:

This morning my group met and for the first time to my recollection I had a brother correct me. I had dreaded this possibility for so long that when it happened, I braced for what I expected to be a hard blow. But my internal flinching was unnecessary. As Scripture calls us to…my brother was very gentle with his observations of me. I can equate the overall experience to having someone tell you that a chunk of broccoli is stuck to your teeth. At first it’s pretty embarrassing. But very quickly you come to appreciate that this person not only had the nerve to let you know but the care and compassion to help prevent further embarrassment.


Mr. T said...

Accountability? Great topic bro! I wish I had more of it in my world. My wife has been my greatest accountability partner - but it would be even better with a group of brothers. I think an online accountability group would be great - but hard to maintain. You know, something like a stickam meeting or the like? Maybe... maybe not...

TheEdge said...

Not a bad idea actually. The only trick would be finding a time that everybody could join in. I tend to be much more available during the day whereas most get on stickam at night. Let me know if you get something going!

4simpsons said...

Hey - sorry I haven't posted more, but I only recently fixed an error that wouldn't let me post on Blogger sites. Ironically, it was tied to my Bsafe Internet filter, which helps with accountability!

Accountability groups are so important. They used to seem like a foreign concept. Now I couldn't live without it.

One challenge we have is not pushing each other hard enough. Sometimes we're too nice.

Luke said...

Accountability is so important in the Christian's life, not just so we can get our consciences clean, but so we can have true fellowship with each other (1 John 1:7).

I think this is important especially with our Internet use. Have you ever heard of accountability software? Check it out: