There has been a lot of talk about the “A” word lately. Brothers and sisters who are in support of the concept are very enthusiastic, largely because forming accountability groups or making themselves accountable to a few trusted fellow Christians has shown real fruit in their lives. They have been able to experience degrees of victory over different areas of temptation that, in some cases, had had control over them for years.

Those opposed to the idea of accountability within the Body are equally strong in their standpoint that accountability is more like control and a superficial solution to a deeper problem. My good friend David put it this way: “Accountability is like a prison. Sure it keeps you from sinning but it doesn’t solve the problem in your heart.”

Could it be that some of us would be better off to royally mess up and have our hearts exposed and healed than to keep everything in check our whole lives by a valiant effort of our flesh? Can God be trusted to keep us from temptation that is too great for us?

On the other hand, I wonder if sometimes prison is necessary for us when we find ourselves exuding behaviour that is causing unnecessary pain to ourselves or others. I suppose then the question would be, how effective is the rehabilitation process? It is not enough to lock ourselves up and throw away the key. In that place of being supported by brothers and sisters whose primary objective is to love and not to control, are we playing an active role in praying for one another and truly bearing one another’s burdens to the point that we are committed to walking arm-in-arm, through thick and thin, until the victory has been had? Have we created a model for a “good Christian” that shames anyone who doesn’t measure up and excludes anyone with an honest struggle from being viewed on an equal playing field?

Perhaps the invitation is not so much to “accountability” to one another but rather real, honest relationship. Where we relate to one another in our daily lives, without pretention, confessing our sins to one another and bearing one another’s burdens. Fighting for one another and along side one another as we move corporately toward the only One to Whom we most certainly will give an account one day.

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