Tuesday, May 04, 2010
Accountability is More than Asking Questions
I've been talking A LOT lately about small groups, community and accountability - don't expect this to change anytime soon :) God is a relational God who created us to live in relationship with Him and with each other. We were designed to need each other. We were not designed to function as self-sufficient islands.
A big part of our need for each other is accountability. We are imperfect, sinful people; but, by the grace of God, we don't have to stay that way. Jesus made a way for us to be made new and overcome the sin and death we fall into all the time. But to consistently choose Jesus, to consistently choose to accept God's grace, to consistently choose to make room for God's Spirit to work in our lives, we need a gentle (and sometimes not-so-gentle) nudge from our friends.
But here's the thing, true accountability doesn't end with a nudge. Truly holding people accountable to a life of faith and integrity means getting involved in each other's lives, it means being willing to get dirty and even uncomfortable at times.
In his book, "Confessions of a Pastor," Craig Groeschel tells the story of a small group he was in where a woman in the group was an exotic dancer. She didn't want to live that life, but she didn't know how to get out of it. One night as their group gathered a guy in the group shared that he had a major problem with pornography. Instead of everyone pulling away from him, they surrounded him and prayed for him and the guys in the group told him they would help hold him accountable to not looking at those things. The woman watched this with tears in her eyes, and having witnessed the grace that was shown, she decided to share her story. Immediately, the group told her she needed to quit what she was doing, but they also took it a step farther. They told her they would help her find a job and they would help support her financially until she did. In other words, they made it possible for her to do what she needed to do.
It would have been a very different story if the group continued to meet every week and just ask her if she had quit, but never offered to help. I'm guessing that eventually she would have stopped coming b/c it would have felt like a place of guilt instead of a place of freedom - a place of shame instead of a place of grace.
It's not always that dramatic. How many times have you and your friends talked about your need to read your Bible and pray but your inability to find time and make time to do it? Maybe it's time to not just hold each other accountable, but get involved in each other's lives to make the time available. For example, maybe you need to carpool to get your kids to school so your friend can use the time to spend with God. Maybe you can take turns cooking enough for your family and your friend's family so the saved time can be spent with God.
I don't know what's going on in your life and where your weaknesses are, but it's time to share them with someone and it's also time to involve yourself in each other's lives.