Iron on Iron: Why Accountability Counts

Proverbs 24:11: ” Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.”

For many Christians, accountability hovers over the same category as humility, perseverance, and character. We know we should have it, but the thought of accountability makes us uncomfortable too.

Ironically, having accountability upfront with safe and healthy believers makes for a better life than accountability by circumstance (hello, learning the hard way!). Proverbs 27 admonishes people to sharpen one another. If you aren’t in a place where you are open to the perspective, questions, and discernment of wise counsel, consider the following:

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1.First, we have to admit that we aren’t sufficient within ourselves. The Lord created us for community, families, and spousal interdependence because he knew how weak and prone to wandering we are. The enemy loves to deceive us into thinking that we can do this thing on our own: self-sufficiency and autonomy, man! We need each other.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecc. 4:9-12).

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice” (Prov. 12:15).

Not only are we susceptible to the Enemy’s attacks when we are isolated, but we also need to remember that we aren’t as good as we think we are. Jeremiah 17:9 reminds us that our hearts our deceitful. Our righteousness comes from Christ, but we are still carrying around our warring flesh too (Romans 7:23). Bunyan demonstrated this need for help in the Pilgrim’s Progress. Like Christian needed travel companions (Faithful, Help, Hopeful) to help him make it to the Celestial City, so do we need fellow brothers and sisters to pull us up, push us along, and point to the path.

2. Let go of the belief that people have to get their whole act together before they can assist you with yours. If that were true, we’d never be in a place to pull people away from the precipice. “Sorry, friend, I still have this bruised arm and weak footing, so who am I to help you get out of that pit?” Christians take Matthew 7 too far into the other ditch by saying that we are never in a place to remove the speck from our brother’s eye. We are to first work on our own plank, “and then you will see clearly to remove…” your brother’s speck.

“We take the log out of own eye so that we can help our spouse with the speck in theirs. By all means, we overlook their little quirks; we even overlook the ways they wound us, if by overlook we mean we forgive them. But this doesn’t mean we turn a blind eye to issues that will eventually harm them […]
“It is not love to ignore your spouse’s sin, or brokenness, or immaturity. It is not love to let something wrong carry on. It is not right. Truth be told, it is a lack of love that lets it all go on for years. When you let your own fears keep you from bringing something up with your spouse, that is self-protection. Or indifference” (Love and War, John & Stasi Eldredge). These principles hold true for siblings, children, parents, and friends.
“Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (I Tim. 4:11-12).

3. Sometimes healing won’t come until we are honest with each other. God is not bound by any restraints or formulas and He certainly has–and does–free people from addictions and sinful patterns by His miraculous touch, but more often than not, we have to allow our inner struggles to see the light of exposure before we become truly free. James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:1-2).
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,” (Heb. 10:24).
We are all one body and we need to look after each part. “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.” (Eph. 4:25). How does this restoration come about if we aren’t honest with each other?

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