Thursday, June 17, 2010
Accountability - How Far Do We Go?
Good Evening to All!
Today's Seed: "But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood."
Just reading this seed can cause us to shudder. We can be held accountable for not warning others of impending danger. That's quite a responsibility. Sin is the Christian's biggest danger. We might consider how our sins affect, but how often do we consider how others' sins pose a danger to them" What's worse, we don't like the idea of having to warn them about it. But that's the basis of accountability.
Most of us have a hard enough time keeping ourselves accountable to God. Yet is is plain that God intended for us to support and to hold accountable those who are in our lives. It's easy for parents to expect children to be accountable, but it's harder to accept our duty of accountability to others. Another challenge is to allow others to hold us accountable, to accept constructive criticism. Accountability has two sides--giving advice and receiving it.
Friendship is one of the primary relationships where we should support one another by holding each other accountable. Instead, we often gossip or complain about he actions of a friend. That makes two who are doing the wrong thing. It takes courage to lovingly confront a friend and time to listen to her side, but if we make the effort we may succeed in warning a friend of danger.
Dig Deeper: The Complete Word Study Old Testament says the Hebrew word for "warn" means "to enlighten, teach; to warn, admonish, dissuade." Accountability encourages us to do good and keeps us from doing wrong so we may shine with God's glory. It also brings out the best in our friend.
Weed & Water: God Designed us as relational beings. Our relationships with Him, our family, our church, and our friends should provide both defense and support. "Therefore, we need to be careful in choosing our church and our friends. Proverbs 12:26 says, "A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray." It's easy to find "friends" that will commiserate with you and help justify wrong actions. It's a lot harder to choose friends that will honestly chastise you when you go astray.
Sprout & Scatter: The best friendships are those where we can express our deepest fears and our most guarded secrets and where we can help someone else do the same. As a godly friend to be your accountability partner. Perhaps you can combine a weekly hour of walking with prayer, heart-to-heart talk, and wise counsel for mutual accountability.
Think about it: List things that can happen if we fail to warn a friend of danger.
Which is harder for you--to give advice or to take it?
Prayer Pot: Father, when I thing about accountability, it is hard for me to ... (Insert your thought.
Take-Away Idea: The whole world will be held accountable to God.
I have always worried about telling others about the dangers of sin at the risk of sounding judgmental. Years ago, a preacher used to point out things I did which he thought were sinful and tell me about them. I quickly learned to dislike going to church, or being around "Christians". I have never taken criticism very well, constructive or otherwise, because for some reason people have a tendency to sound condescending or judgmental when they say things of a critical nature. I have a "thing" about being told "I'm going to hell if I do this or that, or don't quit doing this or that. Also, my attitude might have something to do with being told how dumb I sound, how dingy I am, how ignorant can I be...you get the picture. Anyway, I don't want people feeling the same way when I talk to them, so I hesitate about talking about the dangers of sin. If I am talking to someone and the subject is brought up, then I will find a way to broach the subject in a normal conversation and using My opinion as the basis. I might say, " you might do better if you do such and such rather than this, or I've found that I seem to get more blessings from God if I don't do this or that. I never say "you're in danger of dying a spiritual death if you continue doing this or that. I don't feel it's my call to say that, but after reading this devotional, I guess I need to pay more attention to people and find ways to tell them without hurting their feelings, being condescending, judgmental, or critical. Any other ideas?
Good Night to All and May God Bless!