First, I would like to apologize for the lack of posts recently. I realize that if I want people to read, I have to post!
I have been thinking a lot in recent days about accountability. Some people are quite negative on the subject, I do not understand why, but they are entitled to their opinion.
There are various facets of accountability – family, job, church, etc.
Accountability is defined as an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions. [Definition taken from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary-Online]
I am thankful for the various facets of accountability that are in my life. I am thankful that I am held accountable for my actions on the job. I have to abide by a code of conduct and I am given a performance review each year that holds me accountable for certain tasks and goals. I am thankful for familial accountability. I have certain responsibilities as a father and a husband. It is not enough for me to be there for dinner each evening and make sure the bills and obligations are paid on time. I need to shepherd my family. This is a role that I am becoming more aware of and I am working in the new year.
One aspect of accountability that I am aware of but seems to be misunderstood or lacking is that of accountability among brothers and sisters in Christ within the local church.
Hebrews 10:23-25 reminds us
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering , for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the day approaching.
When was the last time you exhorted someone or you were exhorted when you were in attendance at your local church? I am not referring to the preaching of the Word, but rather one on one ministry between you and another believer. When was the last time someone encouraged you regarding love and good works? Church membership has fallen on hard times, especially in the Bible belt where “everyone is a church member or in church”. Is church membership to resemble a country club membership or a social club? Unfortunately, I think that church membership has declined in our culture and partially due to a lack of understanding of the true meaning and purpose.
Is it wrong to hold other church members accountable? No, in fact it is one of the keys of church discipline (Mt 18:15-17). Most church covenants have a statement or two regarding mutual accountability. The church I currently attend has the following statements:
.. to walk together in Christian love;
We further pledge to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy of speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation…
How can we accomplish these things effectively if we really do not know anyone or have meaningful relationships within the local church? We talked about this in our Men’s Bible Study last week.
Unfortunately, we hear about a brother or sister in Christ who has fallen into sin and their fellowship is broken with the Lord and eventually with the local church. When you hear about these things, pray for the person(s) involved, then ask yourself this question, “Is there something I could have done to prevent this from happening?” There are people around us who do not feel that church membership is not important and as a result they resist accountability of any sort and most times do not possess a teachable spirit. The Bible does give us an admonition regarding how we are to handle such persons. Again, we see that it involves a form of accountability.
2 Timothy 2:24-26
24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
2 Corinthians 13:5
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.
So as we look to the end of 2012 and to the beginning to 2013. How are you executing your responsibilities as a believer not only to be accountable, but to also hold others accountable as well. Not in a Pharisaical manner, but rather in a loving Christ-like manner.
I would like to hear from you. Has someone held you accountable within the context of the local church? Was it a positive experience?