Teaching to Learn and Learning to Teach


New View on Accountability
November 14, 2007, 2:10 am
Filed under: Christian Living, Uncategorized

Recently my view of accountability was influenced by listening to a sermon by Francis Chan. Warning! This may sound very dangerous or bizarre at first. Please keep reading to the end. I don’t think that accountability is necessarily right. First of all, it demands the idea that that person may commit a sin but that they won’t lie about it. So someone may cheat on their spouse, but they will definitely be honest about it when their accountability partner asks them about it?

The main reason I have come to oppose accountability is that it puts the emphasis on pleasing man rather than being holy before God. We should hate sin because of how ugly it is to God and because Christ died for that sin, not because someone will know about it. This became even more clear to me today in our Bible lesson at school. Our lesson was on self-control. The book said one step to keeping control was to have someone keep you accountable, because if you know someone is going to ask you about it you are more likely to not do it. Why is this true? Upon reflection, it is clear that it is because we fear man, and we don’t want that accountability partner’s view of us lowered. Perhaps, at times,  it is a bit more noble and we don’t want to disappoint them. Either way it is a result of fearing man.

I’m not saying that accountability is always bad. I am saying that we need to re-think it and really examine our hearts in it. I think that confession is good for the soul. Confession to God leads to forgiveness and cleansing. Being transparent before others leads to humility and opportunities to be encouraged, receive counsel, and prayer. Confession is Biblical. Ezra confessed in front of people and others joined him in confessing and repenting. In I Samuel Israel gathered together and publicly confessed their sin as a nation. In Nehemiah Israel gathers together to mourn and confess their sins. Acts 19:18 tells us that many new believers in the church came and openly confessed their wicked deeds. James 5:16 tells us we should confess our sins to each other so that we can be healed because the prayers of a righteous man are effective.

Confession is found many times throughout the Bible, whether it be confessing the name of Christ, confessing our sin to God, or confessing to men. I’m not saying throw it out all together, I’m merely saying that I have been led to reevaluate it and see what is at the heart of much of modern day accountability. I’ve been encouraged by thinking about this to watch the motives of my heart. I cannot rely on my shame of someone knowing about my sin to stop me from sinning. First of all, that only reveals more sin in my life, the sin of pride. Secondly, I need God’s mercy and grace, and a crucified and risen Christ to stop me from sinning. I need to make sure that that is what I am resting on and that the cross and my love for Christ is the reason I desire to change and not what a mere man will think of me.

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