“You can’t handle the truth!” Remember that line delivered by Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men? We all struggle with hearing the truth especially about ourselves. But that is what accountability is all about. Without accountability we’re left with only our perspective on life and how to live it. If you are a Christian (especially a Christian male) I think accountability is absolutely essential. Accountability keeps us humble and servant-minded. It reminds us that there is only one God and we’re not Him. Perhaps more than anything though accountability promotes intimacy and deeper Christian fellowship. The truth is even in our churches we tend to have pretty shallow relationships that rarely reflect the biblical idea of what Christian fellowship, discipleship, and encouragement should look like.
I recently heard a group of 4 guys talk about the accountability group they formed about 7 years ago because they felt the need to avoid the fluff and pretending of shallow relationships. They wanted to live in such a way that would honor Jesus and their wives/families. They have an acrostic that they use to keep the group on track but they really don’t have any program or formula other than reading scripture and attempting to have their lives line up accordingly.
Here’s the acrostic: R.E.A.L. “accountability on steroids”
Engage with God
From what I understand these guys talk all the time but they have a mandatory conference call once a month or so. It is a time when they can be asked challenging questions about their lives and how they are relating to the people closest to them like their spouse, kids, co-workers, and of course where they are spiritually. It is all done to support, encourage, and build-up rather than condemn. It only works if the guys are honest though. My guess is if there is any lying or pretending the other guys can sniff it out and call the other guys to step up to the plate and be honest.
This type of group is unusual in our culture where we tend to go it alone opting for a solo journey instead of risking the challenge of authentic biblical community. Some would say that this type of group promotes co-dependency and weakness. That view misses the point completely. Accountability isn’t about co-dependency or weakness as much as it is about community, strength (in numbers) and investing in others rather than being completely self-obsorbed. In my opinion it is to truly demonstrate love.
Scripture says in I Thess. 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
I know that i’ve been encouraged now to buff up my accountability relationships that I already have in place and not only that perhaps start a group that adopts the R.E.A.L. model. I challenge you to seek out some accountability and I encourage you to pursue, character, integrity, and truth in your walk with Christ.