Thursday, March 12, 2009

Men Holding Men Accountable

(Thoughts and quotes have been taken from the booklet:
“Accountability Among Men” by Bob Beltz, which is
a part of the “Men of Integrity” Series.)

“Most (men) want to change their patterns but don’t know how. If we try to spot the causes of their inconsistencies, we’d find that men fail for many reasons. The reasons range from indifference to God and inconsistent or nonexistent prayer and devotional times to anger, illness, and even fatigue. Though a better prayer and devotional life will help, resolving a basically spiritual problem often requires more for men who, because of fear, egoism, or cultural expectations, try to move through life alone. Men need to be accountable to other men.”

“Being accountable helps men to recognize that their actions have consequences and (helps them) to have both the courage and assistance to find lives of consistency.”

Men are to be accountable to other men. Paul held Peter accountable (Gal. 2:11-14). Vs. 11 – “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.” Peter was acting different when he was with Jews and when he was with Gentiles.

Our Christian life is one of relationships. We, as men, need other men with whom we have a close relationship that can and does develop into one with accountability. Being in a position to hold another man accountable is a relationship that is earned. Accountability involves being responsible and liable.

We are to be growing in our spiritual walk and holding each other accountable for that growth. Having good sources of accountability is a critical part of a vital spiritual life.

There are three levels of accountability: First, to God. We will all be held accountable before God. Second, to our spouses. And third, to other Christian men.

The type of relationship it takes to grow into one with accountability requires fellowship. (Grk: koinonia – a sharing in common) “Authentic fellowship is a sharing of our life with another person who among other things has earned the right to hold us accountable. For men, this fellowship, on its deepest spiritual level, includes disclosure of our fears, failures, and hopes, as well as our successes.”

The following verses relate to an accountable relationship:

Pro 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.
Pro 27:9 Oil and perfume make the heart glad, So a man's counsel is sweet to his friend.
Pro 27:10 Do not forsake your own friend or your father's friend, And do not go to your brother's house in the day of your calamity; Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother far away.
Pro 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.
Pro 28:23 He who rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with the tongue.

This kind of relationship, man-to-man, requires the cultivation of several critical qualities:

Unconditional Love – “Accountability that impacts our lives with the life-changing power of the Spirit of God occurs within the context of relationships built on the foundation of God’s unconditional love… People must earn the right to hold you accountable; that right comes when you sense their unconditional acceptance of you. Then trust is possible.”
Availability – “…That’s what authentic friendship looks like. It requires a commitment of availability of our time, energy, and resources. Few friendships develop this level of commitment. When availability is present, accountability becomes empowered. You are willing to be accountable to someone who is willing to sacrifice and help you.”
Honesty – There must be a commitment to honesty, it is a requirement for this type of relationship. James 5:16 tells us to confess our sins to one another and pray for one another. Sometimes honesty requires confronting a friend. This can lead to conflict. Authentic relationships can grow through conflict. “Without honesty, accountability is a sham.”
Confidentiality – “Nothing kills the honesty in a relationship like a breach of confidence.” Confidence in confidentiality is a must.
Consistent Time Together – “Developing accountability relationships requires the investment of time and energy.”
Prayer – We must hold each other to be accountable in prayer. Intercession on the behalf of a brother is one of the greatest gifts we can give. “If I am going to take a role in holding a brother accountable, I also must be committed to praying for and with that brother about the very issues we share together.”

In the book, the author has a summary of a group he has been involved with. “We met together regularly in a spirit of unconditional love to help each other grow spiritually. We made ourselves available to each other and sought to be there for members of the group who were having a tough time. We were learning to be open and honest with each other. We held each other accountable for spiritual growth and lovingly yet firmly encouraged each other. We prayed for and with each other.”

1 comment:

  1. Although I am not a man and probably not meant to even read this entry, I just wanted to say how strongly I agree. I have seen the benefit of Mark's having had godly men holding him accountable in certain areas. It's so important to surround ourselves with spiritually likeminded people. Obviously, we need to get into the world and befriend non-believers as well, but those relationships where you have God in common are so important.
    One thing Mark learned from meeting with other Christian men for accountability, though, is that there is the tendancy to open up and simply sympathize with one another's struggles rather than calling each other out on sin. The biggest thing we all have to do is realize there is a greater fear than the fear of man...which can never make us holy and can really never ultimately keep us from sinning. That is the fear of God.