The Pretense of Accountability (#490)

wayne2015Many who argue that attending a local congregation is essential to faith talk of the necessity of accountability, especially to religious leaders. Is the life Jesus calls his church based on accountability? Wayne takes up some listener email on this point to talk about how destructive the focus on sin and accountability is to the development of authentic relationships. Accountability leads to pretense not freedom as people posture for the acceptance of others. The life of the church is based on love, service and encouragement where people are free to be authentic, to ask the questions that are on their heart and to discover the transforming power of Jesus that actually frees us from sin by the work he does. Our concern for each other's brokenness and our honesty with people caught in sin is best expressed in love, not by trying to hold others accountable.

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  1. Totally agree with your description on accountability. Unfortunately, in this day and age, even when done in the way and context that you describe, there will be people who will not accept it and take it as them being persecuted. But at the end of the day, you can’t allow another’s perception of what is being done to keep you from doing what you know is right and healthy for the body.

  2. Awesome again! Thankyou so much for hearing God and His message as it was spot on.

  3. Great to hear California is getting some much needed rain. Here’s hoping you and your family make some wonderful memories together on holidays.

  4. just this last month I went back and worked through some former relationships I had with a denomination. As I spoke with someone in leadership about what had occured I let him in on a phrase a mentor of mine taught me over the last year, “Accountability without relationship is abuse.” That’s what many of the “Dones” are saying and is reflected in the Epistles. Thanks for sharing.

    • Accountability without relationship is abuse. Never thought of it that way, but its true. There is nothing that irks me more than for someone that barely knows me to tell me what to do. Of course, I am trying to unlearn that myself – Mr. Fixit that I am. LOL

      I started off in a relationship with a brother that was strictly accountability based and I tried to follow an accountability model. While there some very good points for who to use as your accountability partner, which I did follow, the other aspects felt so artificial that we moved away from the model quickly. There was a willingness for honesty and transparency inout relationship, and as we spent more time together and got to know each other, the honesty and transparency increased because it was safe. I also saw that accountability did not necessarily change me, but acceptance and love from this brother made me feel safe to look at different aspects of my life and bring them to Jesus. My friend showed my unconditional love, that made me see the unconditional love of the Father through Jesus. Knowing Jesus is what changes me. And for those things that do not change, I am not judged by either my friend, or by God. And it remains a safe place.

  5. Accountability is a good thing but like most everything that I witness in the “institution” of organized religion, the cart is ahead of the horse. I don’t look for accountability partners and I don’t encourage people to be accountable to others. My focus and what I hope to model is, by keeping in step with The Spirit, to invest in legit friendship with everyone and anyone that God brings across my path. If God brings them across my path then I consider them “mine” and I will do my best to keep my eyes, ears and Spirit open to be a true friend. We fish, we grill, we move stuff together, and we naturally speak of what God is doing in our lives and what we hope God will do in our lives and we support each other in that. Too many people are concerned about being “intentional” in these friendships. Being intentional in regards to talking about God together and discipleship. I think they may very well be the same folks or at least the same restrictive and controlling spirit that was so critical of the “grace” movement needing to be monitored so it does not become license for sinning. The key is in attempting to live uncluttered lives, relationally, monetarily, over-booked obligations, etc, which restrict our “flow”, in order to hear and sense The Spirit’s direction as we keep in step with The Spirit. Just the other day one of our younger guys, over a beer and wings, was talking to me about sexual temptation and his struggles. Before I knew it I was baring my soul and confessing to him how and when and where I too struggle with my sexuality, how an overly sex focus even in my marriage of 23 years can hurt my marriage. I hadn’t planned it and hadn’t even thought about this truth previously but through legit friendship and at the “one on one” level, Holy Spirit walked us right into healthy and honest sharing of our weaknesses and the bearing of each other’s burdens. No program, no commitment papers to sign, no promises to get it “right”, but simple old school friendship, and our attempt at keeping in step with Holy Spirit in the middle of it all. “Where two or three or more are gathered in My name, there I am among them.”

  6. Wayne,
    I really appreciated your words in this podcast. It is a topic that we’ve been talking about a lot and the things you said resonate with us. Our friends Greg and Kim here in AZ pointed us to your site and ministry about a month ago and we’re so grateful. We have been on a parallel path for a number of years that is almost identical to yours. It’s a God thing – a God journey. 🙂

    Can I ask a techy question? Do you use PowerPress to embed your podcasts into your posts?


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