Mar 1st, 2020
Hello and welcome to season 2 episode 67 of The Berean Manifesto, brought to you by The Ekklesian House. This is Pastor Bill and over the next 10 minutes or so we are talking about accountability.
In the last episode we talked about integrity and I gave my definition of integrity. Which, full disclosure, I discovered researching for that episode that it was a quote from C.S. Lewis. And even though there is nothing new under the sun, I was sure I had developed my own definition of integrity, but it’s more likely that I heard and internalized the quote from Lewis years ago. It goes like this; integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.
Hand in hand with integrity is accountability. The two compliment each other very well, like peanut butter and chocolate, Oreos and milk, hugs and kisses, love and marriage, a horse and carriage (this I tell ya brother, you can’t have one without the) right.
OK, so integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching, and now accountability. Accountability is making sure someone is always watching. For some this means literally or virtually never being alone. Making sure that every aspect of their life is at least accessible to someone else carte blanche. Today’s technology makes it easier than ever to have everything that our flesh wants at our fingertips. All of this technology though, also has safeguards built right in that can be used to make sure that someone you trust can gain unfettered access. One of the best ways I’ve heard it put is to ask, “Why would I wait to fight a battle with temptation later that I know I can put safeguards in place to prevent now?” It just seems too simple, right? There’s too much common sense there. A common approach that a lot of people pick is to pick one person that you’re completely open, honest, and vulnerable with.
Let’s spend some time in Proverbs 27 because there’s lots of good stuff in there about accountability. The most popular scripture on accountability, so it’s a good place to start, is Proverbs 27:17 CSB, “ Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens another.” Accountability sharpens like an iron sword is sharpened by iron. When we’re in accountability we ask each other the hard questions about the areas we know the other is struggling, and we don’t accept easy or deflecting answers. That’s uncomfortable, that’s awkward, that hurts. True, True, and True. Proverbs 27:6 CSB says, “ The wounds of a friend are trustworthy, but the kisses of an enemy are excessive.” I’d rather hear the truth from a friend even if it hurts. The voices telling you that you’re good just like you are, that you don’t need to change and grow. Never change, always be you. These aren’t your friends; they don’t have your best interest at heart.
Jim Carrey said, “I wish everyone could get rich and famous and everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that’s not the answer.” He’s not that far off from the sentiment of Proverbs 27:21 CSB. It says, “ A crucible refines silver, a smelter refines gold, and praise refines a person.” Both the crucible and the furnace were used for their respective metals to heat them to a point that the dross, or imperfections, would come together and floats to the top. The refiner of the metal would then use special instruments to remove the dross leaving behind the pure metal.
Fame, riches, the praise of fans and contemporaries isn’t what it’s cracked up to be and will bring all those imperfections and flaws floating to the surface. Accountability can help with that, but it won’t replace the hand of The Lord in your life. Proverbs 17:3 CSB says, “A crucible for silver, and a smelter for gold, and the Lord is the tester of hearts.” The Lord is that refiner that has those special instruments to remove that dross, to remove that stuff that comes floating to the top. I’d rather the wounds of a friend that I can trust while The Lord tests my heart and can remove the dross that comes apparent, than to seek the praises and fandom of others.
I would be remis if I didn’t bring up that it is true that accountability isn’t for everyone. Proverbs 27:22 CSB says, “ Though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with grain, you will not separate his foolishness from him.” Accountability isn’t for everyone. If you’re a fool, then accountability simply isn’t for you. It really goes back to that reticular activation system we talked about a few episodes ago. The part of the brain that looks for information that supports what it already believes and then alters it to fully champion your preconceived ideas. Simply put, as it came up in our Ekklesian House discussion, you can’t fix stupid.
If you’re not a fool then accountability is for you and you need to identify the areas in your life where you are weak and find a way, or preferably several ways, to become transparent. Identify one or more people that you trust to come along side you in life that aren’t afraid to hurt your feelings by asking the tough questions. They aren’t afraid to get in your face when they see that something isn’t quite copasetic. They aren’t afraid to push and encourage you and force you to grow.
In the last episode we talked about Vice President Pence not working late at night with any aide that wasn’t male, not dining alone with a woman who wasn’t his wife, and not going to any event with alcohol unless his wife was going to be there with him. What you’re seeing there is integrity, and not just integrity. But, integrity with accountability playing out in front of you. He requires there be someone else present at a meal with someone of the opposite gender – accountability. He won’t go to an event with alcohol without his wife – accountability. I don’t know the inner workings of the day to day life of the man, but I’m sure there’s more layers of accountability present that support his integrity. You don’t get to the point where you put these types of systems in place to protect your marriage without practicing that integrity behind the scenes.
I feel impressed in these last moments to warn that when you’re the busiest. In that moment where you feel like, “I don’t have time for accountability, I don’t even have time to slip up and fall.” That’s when you need accountability. When you’re the most stressed and you just don’t need another thing on your back like that. That’s when you need accountability. When you’ve got everything put together and it seems like everything is going right, that’s when you need accountability. When you’ve lost everything and it seems like nothing is ever going to be right again, that’s when you need accountability. And finally, when you’re surrounded by fandom, seated in the public eye, that’s when you need accountability more than ever. Trust me when I say, if you don’t set up accountability before you get into these situations, it will be harder than ever to set them up once you are there.
This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”