Embrace correction and accountability - they’re good for the soul

Accountability is important in the life of a believer. But it shouldn’t just keep us from evil – it should spur spiritual growth and development.

“She’s always correcting me,” said the clearly irate husband, “and she never mentions the things I do right…only the things that she thinks I do wrong!”

That is a common comment heard in many couples counseling and coaching sessions every day across the country – one spouse talking about the fact that his or her mate is quick to point out the negatives while scarcely mentioning the positives.

Who likes being corrected? As much as I recognize my flaws and shortcomings, I certainly don’t, and a continuous and ongoing prayer is that God allows me to receive correction with grace. Because none of us do everything right all the time. We all need to be held accountable.

When was the last time you were corrected – not on the job or in a business setting but in your personal life? How did you respond?

Did you smile on the outside while you were stewing on the inside at the audacity of someone else telling you that you messed up and what you should DO to fix it? Did you let your emotions get the best of you and give it right back to them?

Accountability can be a bitter pill to swallow but for all of us, it is necessary medicine.

Accountability means making yourself vulnerable to a spouse, or family member, or confidante or friend. It means that you are transparent with them and that you lower your defenses and give them permission to question, challenge, wonder out loud, and give you godly counsel.

Over the years, I have learned that accountability works best when it is given and received in love. That’s accountability God’s way. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 4:15-16: “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is Christ. From him, the whole body joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

Those of us who profess Jesus as Lord and Savior have a responsibility to hold one another accountable. Most of the time, accountability is seen as a means to stop us from doing bad things. It is so much more than that.

So what if your accountability partner helped you to stop looking at pornography? That on the surface is a great victory and worthy of celebration. But what if you replaced that sinful habit by spending countless hours playing video games or binge-watching Netflix or Amazon Prime? True accountability calls you to reach for something higher – to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

Accountability is important in the life of a believer. But it shouldn’t just keep us from evil – it should spur spiritual growth and development.

Here are several attributes that characterize someone who is open to accountability. Please ask yourself if this describes you and your heart. If it does, great! If it doesn’t, please consider these words and as the Holy Spirit gives you unction, make your petitions known before God.

1. Transparency. Are you open to others about what is going on inside your head? Is your greatest consideration that you need to protect your reputation and that your spouse or friend would think less of you if they knew this or that? Well, for one, God knows and He loves you. Do you need to “spill your guts” to everyone; no, but share your challenges with those you deem trustworthy.

2. Humility. An accountable person must have an attitude of humility. Sometimes we have to keep quiet, but if we listen to someone who loves us and who shares a hard truth on a particular situation or circumstance in our life, we are much better served. Humility is learned, and it is so valuable. It spurs growth like few things can.

3. Character. Character counts – are you trustworthy? Do you follow through on your word? Can your spouse or family or friend trust you to mean what you say and say what you mean? Can you be trusted to hold something in confidence or do they already know that if they tell you, they tell everyone? We should endeavor to be men and women of high character, of integrity of the highest order.

4. Be Teachable. A former pastor of ours admonished the flock – always be humble and always be teachable. He was so right! We all need to manifest a teachable spirit because none of us has all the answers or has it all figured out. If you are blessed enough to have a godly person speak truth into your life, heed their words and consider their counsel, even if you don’t agree.

We were not called to live these lives in isolation. That is one of the greatest tricks of that old devil. We were meant to walk together in community. Proverbs 17:17 reminds us that, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” So, let’s help each other on this journey called life to shine a bright light for the Kingdom.

Be accountable to someone and hold others accountable as well in a godly way.

Remember the words of Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

When I contemplate the wisdom of Solomon it saddens me that in all his wisdom, with an entire kingdom at his beck and call, with all of those wives and concubines and servants, he as King had no one who held him accountable. But not even Solomon could escape the accountability that ultimately comes from God. And neither can you or I - let’s be mindful of the Judgment of all men and women, believers and unbelievers.

Don’t bristle against correction and accountability - embrace them. Ultimately, they’re good for the soul.

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