Accountability (Brent's experience)
After I confessed my struggle with same-sex desires to a couple of my friends, I acknowledged that I could not fight this battle alone. I had tried unsuccessfully for nearly 25 years. If I was going to be victorious, I needed someone to come alongside me and help me. My two friends were very loving and gracious as I unburdened myself to them. That night, I installed an accountability app on my phone and my friend, Roger, became my accountability partner. We never made any kind of formal commitment to help each other. Nor did we discuss what accountability should look like. Now, I realise, that we probably should have. I have been researching ways to improve my accountability partnership. The partnership has been very beneficial, but needs a little tweaking.
While there is no “one-size-fits-all” model, I would like to share some ideas that I believe will lead to a healthy and thriving accountability partnership. In my research, I came across two articles that I thought were particularly useful. The articles are “Understanding and Developing Christian Accountability” and “Why We Need Accountability,” both by Dr. Richard J. Krejcir. I feel that Dr. Krejcir’s treatment of the subject is very thorough and appreciate the way he builds both articles on a Biblical foundation and weaves Scripture throughout.
The first thing to do when discussing accountability is to define exactly what it is. In “Understanding and Developing Christian Accountability,” Dr. Krejcir defines accountability as “a check and balance system to protect us from ourselves and others.” He says “We do this by being open [about] what we are thinking and doing so we can receive encouragement and reproof, when needed.” He adds, “[Accountability] is sharing, in confidence, our heartfelt Christian sojourn in an atmosphere of trust.”
Now that we have a definition of accountability, it may be helpful to state a few things that accountability is not. An accountability partnership or group is not simply a place to vent our frustrations or complain. It is true we need close friends that we can vent and complain to. However, accountability is about growing in Christ. Dr. Krejcir says, “A good accountability group will have questions, Bible study, prayer, listening, and support at its core.” He later states, “[Accountability] is not about just overcoming addictions; it is about being overcome with Christ as Lord of our lives.”
What is the need for accountability? The short answer is that we are all prone to sin and are less likely to stray from the narrow path if we have someone who is holding us accountable for our actions. In “Why We Need Accountability,” Dr. Richard J. Krejcir states, “We have blind spots and need input from others to find them.” He goes on to say, “Having other people around whom you can trust and get to know more deeply will enable you to know yourself – your strengths, your weaknesses, and opportunities – more deeply.”
Dr. Krejcir lists about forty benefits of an effective accountability partnership in “Understanding and Developing Christian Accountability.” I have selected a few prominent benefits below.
Effective accountability will help us with the following:
- Adhering ourselves to God’s Word and call.
- Learning to commune with God more deeply so we can respond to His precepts more rapidly and thoroughly.
- Being able to trust, share, and commune with another person in depth.
- Learning about Christ’s redemption and our ability to change.
I hope that you will find a friend or group of friends whom you can trust and confide in, who will share in your struggles, who will strengthen and encourage you, who will gently rebuke you when necessary, but most of all, who will point you to God. Dr. Krejcir suggests we look for these things in a good, confidential accountability partner or group:
- Look for people whom you respect, trust, are mature in their faith and character, and from whom you can learn so you can develop closeness and share shortcomings.
- Make sure you use God’s Word; it is your standard for faith and practice.
- Communicate ground rules or a code of conduct.
- Remember, the primary purpose is to get yourself aligned with God’s love, call, and precepts over all else.
Having an accountability partner has helped me stay away from porn. It has helped me grow closer to God and look to Jesus for joy and satisfaction. I now know that I am not alone in this fight. There are others who love me and are willing to assist me in the messy parts of my life.
This is the first article in a series on accountability, which includes a variety of personal perspectives.