When you hear the word 'accountability' do you feel inspired with hope or do you cringe with shame? These two extremes are the usual responses to any conversation between men about Christian accountability. However, I have found that the "cringe with shame" response is the most common. But why?
Why do men who are seeking guidance and mentorship have such a negative response to any talk about accountability?
I think we have been doing accountability all wrong. So many of us are looking for REAL guidance and leadership but only find a couple of dudes reminding us not to sin or mess up. Too often a man's experience with accountability groups involves other men telling him what not to do.
"Stop watching that."
"Stop thinking about that."
"Stop being a no-good rotten sinner."
Stop. Stop. Stop.
Aside from many things, what is so fundamentally wrong with this approach is the focus on the negative. Here's what I mean:
I want you to not think about a PINK ELEPHANT. Simply get the PINK ELEPHANT out of your mind. Just stop. just got the rest of this sentence don't think about a PINK ELEPHANT.
Now, what are you thinking about?
You see, our minds don't work in the negative. You can't positively engage your mind about what you DON'T want to do. Our brains simply filter out the "don't" and "stop" and highlight what it is that you are telling yourself not to think about or do!
This awareness is exhausting at best and damaging at its core. Trust me, I lived this out. I constantly walked around with an awareness of what I didn't want to do. I just wanted to be a pure-minded and spiritually mature Christian husband. Instead, I became an anxious mess. Everywhere I went I felt bound by what not to do and an awareness that I could mess up.
It wasn't until I had REAL accountability modeled for me that I began to see a change in my life and in my Christian walk. It was truly liberating.
I found a mentor who flipped my idea of accountability on its head and showed me my identity as a son of God and an heir with Christ (See Romans 8).
He showed me that true accountability is having men around me who can ACCOUNT for your ABILITY. True accountability inspires hope in a man because it calls out the best of him even in the worst situations. It involved intimate knowledge of my struggles but for the purpose of declaring the truth about me as a born-again Christian. It involved sincere engagement with my failures but for the purpose of declaring Jesus' redemptive power of the Cross over my life. It involved confession of sin but for the purpose of leading me to the one who forgives and restores.
Are you hungry for this sort of relationship with another man? I invite you to check out our one-on-one mentoring program and watch how REAL accountability changes your life.
Continue to march.