Not to sound like a Kindergarten Sunday School teacher, but let's kick it back to the basics and re-evaluate our roles as Christians.
As Christians, we are to set an example and live a Godly life. (Matthew 5:13-16, Ephesians 5:8)
Even though our role is clearly established in the Word, it's often incredibly difficult to maintain a "good Christian lifestyle" in the provocative and tempting society we live in today. One of the ways we can combat these temptations is by keeping each other accountable through friends, mentors, and small groups.
What is accountability?
Accountability means that our words and actions are answerable to others, and we should accept this responsibility as a gift from God. Not only does it provide a system of checks and balances that protect us from harm, but it also gives us unique opportunities to share our lives with others and to encourage them.
So why do we NEED accountability?
1) We were made to have relationships.
This may just be me, but when I get upset or frustrated, one of my first instincts is to shut down and completely cut myself off from my friends and family. I tell myself that I can live life my own way by myself, but God didn't intend for life to be that way. If we look at everyone in the Bible, those who accomplished the most never did it by themselves. When we shut ourselves out from others, we get so wrapped up in our own thinking that becomes it harder to rely on God's plan, rather than our own. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
2) As Christians, we are responsible for lifting each other up in Christ.
Like I said before, it can be super hard to lead a Christian life in the society we live in today. This is why having an accountability partner/group is so important. Having other people around whom you can trust and get to know more deeply will enable you to know yourself, your strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities, more deeply. You will become more aware of issues and relationships, as life's purpose and God's call unfold before you through your interactions and relationships.
As much as it's hard to admit to ourselves, it is difficult for us to resist peer pressure and go against the "norm crowd." In my own friend group, I know that there are girls who feel like they would be getting into bad situations like drugs and alcohol if they didn't have our group to ground them, and I feel the same way. Having a close accountability group is so helpful in keeping yourself grounded and maintaining a lifestyle you know that pleases God-- and even when you fail (which is obvs inevitable lol), your accountability group will always be there to support you and encourage in your ups and downs. (Romans 15:2-3)
3) Sometimes, the truth hurts.
I'm not going to pretend like my accountability group is perfect; we get annoyed with each other and gossip about each other, just like every other friend group. But at the end of the day, we always try to build each other up-- and that require us to be very honest.
There have been COUNTLESS times when we've gone to each other with our problems and/or we've had to give the cold, hard truth as advice, even if we know it'll hurt. When not speaking the truth will cause greater hurt in our friend's life, we must be willing to sacrifice our pride for those of our friend. That is true friendship.
This also goes for taking our friends' advice in stride. When being confronted by friends, my automatic instinct is to shut them out and assure myself that I'm right, but newsflash, fam-- we're not always right. As the stubborn and prideful people we are, it's hard to accept advice when it goes against our own plan, but this is what being held accountable is all about. Holding each other accountable means being upfront with each other because we love each other and want to see each other grow. Whether we are the ones approaching a friend or the one being approached, it is important to remember that accountability groups should be centered around glorifying God and reflecting His light in our lives as much as possible. With that being said, when we offend a friend/feel offended by a friend, God's Word offers a solution: forgiveness. Forgiveness is a central part of any type of relationship; none of us are perfect, so how can we expect anyone to be? (Colossians 3:13)
ACCOUNTABILITY IS NOT:
Accountability is not about confrontation. We may, at times, need to be confronted and to confront another, but accountability is more about challenging one another to grow in Christ, so there is no need to condemn people. Accountability helps instill the warning precepts that God has given us, but it also has the necessary support, counsel, encouragement, and affirmation we all need.
We are all messed up people. There is no sin too big or too small for God, the perfect Creator of all men, to be driven away. So how can we justify judging others when God doesn't judge us? Our responsibility as Christians is to love others, not to hate. (1 John 4:20)
As I get older and face more and more temptations, I realize just how important it is to have friends, role models, and mentors to keep you grounded. At the end of the day, we're all one fam in the Kingdom, so let's go act like one. :')
SUMMING IT ALL UP:
1) As Christians, we are to set an example for others.
2) Accountability is about raising each other up towards Christ.
3) We are responsible for keeping each other accountable, even when it could hurt a friend's feelings.
4) Accountability is not about confrontation or judgment.
“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
Romans 15: 2-3
We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. For even Christ didn’t live to please himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
1 John 4:20
If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?