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Accountability


"The Human element", though the pinnacle of God's creation, isn't without many flaws. Much of the Bible is truth about overcoming the daily challenges of our sinful human nature. Only God in Christ can redeem us from the eternal outcomes of this dark side. Just as his saving grace claims us so his sustaining provision gives us hope against "the human element" issues that confront us in the journey. One troubling hurdle for most of us in the constant struggle to see ourselves clearly. It's the reason accountability is an ingredient we need.

Don't argue with me about the need for personal accountability. "The human element" by nature is egocentric and will not see the plank in our own eyes because we're so obsessed by the tiny specks in the eyes of the people around us (see Matthew 7:5 for the Lord's teaching on judging others). It's one of the reasons self-control is provided as a fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23), God's provision as a hedge against our blindness regarding personal autonomy. In a more practical application, this myopia may be the reason for the success of organizations like Weight Watchers, Celebrate Recovery, twelve step programs, and gadgets like my FitBit. They help monitor those areas of life that need someone or something watching over my shoulder in the more troublesome areas of life management. They are accountability systems if nothing else.

Accountability is a strong biblical concept, especially in the community of faith. Many Scriptures affirm the value of being in a relationship where the metrics of life are shared with others. Several examples include---

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you

may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

James 5:16, ESV

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who

promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and

good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but

encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Hebrews 10:23-25, ESV

But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you

may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Hebrews 3:13, ESV

As in most other topics, there are many more Bible verses supporting our need for relationships with accountability as an ingredient.

Still, "the human element" being what it is, genuine accountability is rare. Why is this, especially among people of faith? In my opinion, it's because we don't understand the biblical concept of "the body". Above our many metaphors about the functional dynamics of church, the references about "the body" are perhaps the most revealing.

Those precious Bible passages that define the workings of the "body of Christ" certainly accentuate the inter-dependence, mutuality, and accountability so obvious in an organic body. There are many such references, especially 1 Corinthians 12. In his letter to the Ephesian church the Apostle Paul wrote---

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the

head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint

with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so

that it builds itself up in love.

Ephesians 4:15-16, ESV

It's the "speaking the truth in love" thing that overrides the tendencies of "the human element". It's what enables accountability that "...makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love". And, we need it, right now. Many of the discomforts of Covid-19 will be the new normal of the future. Our dependence, reliance, and truthfulness with each other will be an asset as we deal with these new things. And, we've learned a few lessons about accountability during this pandemic---keeping our distance, following direction markers in retail outlets, order limits on certain products, and even wearing masks. I mean, I went to the store yesterday and a lady scolded me for walking the wrong way down an aisle. "The human element" in me bristled. But, she was right. She held me accountable.

And accountability declares, each person to the others, IM4U. Read, I AM FOR YOU. It's what makes accountability work, and helps us deal with the mysteries of "the human element".

Glory.

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