Accountability

In life (I believe) that each and everyone of us needs to be accountable to someone… or perhaps to more than one person.  I don’t believe that there is a single human being that, left to their own senses and devices, will always make proper decisions and see things completely clearly.

 

That is where an “accountability partner” can serve us.   In order for someone to hold an other accountable there needs to be a close, personal relationship.  One needs to be able to “read” the other, too have an ability to almost see into the future.  You know what I mean.  You look at your friend’s life and based on the time you’ve spent together you can see where their actions (or inaction’s) are leading.  Is that where they need to be heading?!  Is that journey going to ultimately harm them and/or their family?  An accountability partner should be able to discern where and when that poor decision is being made and be able to honestly and forthrightly address it to you.

 

It has been my experience that it is rare for an individual to be willing to receive such accountability.  Rarer yet is the individual who is willing to listen to an accountability partner,  accept the evaluation and then take the necessary steps to implement the change(s).  That, my dear readers, is the mark of a person of integrity and maturity.

 

Let’s face it folks.  None of us are (or ever will be) perfect.  Why wouldn’t we be willing to make the necessary changes?  Why wouldn’t we be willing to look at our past poor decisions and learn from them?  Why wouldn’t we be willing to say, “Wow, I sure screwed that up.  I need someone to help me see those obstacles in the future!”

 

I think the simple answer is… PRIDE!  Not many people are willing to admit to themselves that they need help.  Even fewer people are willing to admit to another person that they need help.  Here’s a NEWS FLASH.  WE ALL NEED HELP!!

 

Okay now stop that right now!  Stop thinking about that person you are thinking of.  Sure, maybe they do need help but so do you (and me too of course)!

 

If you don’t have an accountability partner consider talking to a friend about the matter.  However, being an accountability partner does not necessarily give you authority to hound the person.  You need to be able to talk about the (serious) things you see and too be able to offer suggestions on another approach.  Share your life with someone you respect and grow!

 

So here are a few questions.

 

1.  Are YOU willing to receive criticism?

2.  Will YOU act on the information when you get it?

3.  Are YOU willing to risk a friendship to tell your friend they are heading for a train wreck?

4.  Are YOU willing to do what is necessary to become a better all round person?

5.  Do YOU want to be the same person you are NEXT December?

 

I ran across these quotes in a computer program I have and feel they are pertinent.

 

* A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury.

John Stuart Mill (1806–1873)

 

*  Life is like a cash register in that every account, every thought, every deed, like every sale, is registered and recorded.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen (1895–1979)

 

*  My Spirit searches the deep things of the heart. I not only taste the fruit, I test the soundness of the tree. I do not look at the leaves, but examine the roots. I behold not the shape of the tree, but test the heart.

Frances J. Roberts

 

*  The sins ye do by two and two, ye must pay for, one by one.

Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936)

 

*  What difference does it make to you what someone else becomes, or says, or does? You do not need to answer for others, only for yourself.

Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380–1471)

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12 Responses to Accountability

  1. Joy says:

    It’s so hard for some people to admit or to ask for help. Why is that? If I need help with something, personal or physical, I have no problem asking. I wish others felt the same way. I also feel everyone needs to be held accountable. If you mess up, you need to stand up and say you did and then do your best to fix it and move on. One shouldn’t dwell or wallow in it.

    mssc54 replied:
    Joy, I think the reason some people find it difficult to ask for help is that they would first have to admit they NEED help.

  2. Servant says:

    This is right on target!

    I have found that a lot of folks will agree with this in theory, but when it happens in reality, face to face, and over something you can be offended over…few really want it.

    It might be also interesting to consider this… I define accountability as the permission you give to let another ask you a hard question and to accept it without repercussion. I define authority as the ability of another to not only ask the question, but to have the power to tell you what you should do.

    If you think living accountable is hard…how many people do you know that could really accept being under authority?

    mssc54 replied:
    Servant, if a person won’t even admit they need an accountability partner I doubt they are under any reasonable authority.

    When a person learns to accept accountability and live under authority they have a completely different level of wisdom than one who just listens and doesn’t empliment.

  3. Auj says:

    When I help others I feel valued and gain a sense of purpose in my life. I enjoy helping others simply for the joy in sharing. I wholeheartedly respect others as I would like to be respected.

    I extend myself to those who need my help and they owe me nothing in return. I enjoy making myself available and accessible to others. This is my way of extending a caring attitude throughout the world.

    It gladdens my heart and strengthens my spirit when I can lend a hand to other people. I am empowered when I help others.

    Very nice post!

    🙂

    mssc54 replied:
    Auj that’s nice that you are helping people.

    However, the point of the post is that sometimes we all need to do things that are not necessarily comfortable for us or our friends… but it’s the right thing to do.

    To risk your friendship with another because you care for them more than the relatinship is (I believe) sacrificial love.

  4. K. Trainor says:

    Well done. I’ve always thought spouses and SOs should be accountability partners for one another, but sadly that’s not always the case. Actively seekind a formal accountability relationship with another person–that’s a great idea!

    mssc54 replied:
    K. Trainor Although we all need and are accountable to our spouses, I think it would be pretty difficult for a spouse to be an accountability partner in the sense that I mean in this post.

    There really is something worthwhile about being able to speak truth to someone without fear of retribution. Conversely, it is even more worthwhile to be able to receive difficult evaluations and too be able to see it’s value and then act on it.

  5. Laurie says:

    Hello…you dont know me, but I saw your response to Enola on her latest post.

    I want to tell you, how much I appreciated what you had to say.

    Like you, I had my struggles with my family over the years. My siblings dont visit…yet expect me to travel across the country. My parents are gone now…but when they were alive, I tried to honour them. Like you…I recognized they were a product of thier own upbringing. Perhaps they didnt have the opportunities that I had to heal…and to understand that I could live differently…raise my family differently.

    With them gone…I am so happy that I was able to do that. I loved them immensely…foibles and all. They will always be in my heart.

    Thank you…and bless you.

    Laurie

    mssc54 replied:

    Laurie, welcome to my blog, I hope you come by often.

    As I write this response I am at my brothers house. As difficult as family can be at times I think it is important to remember that it was His divine wisdome that placed us in our family.

    Regardless of how we perceive our parents we are still requiredto honor them. The “trick” is to determine how that honor manifests itself.

    Additionally, sometimes it is best for our health and well being to practice “tough love” with members of our family.

  6. Laurie says:

    I forgot to add…please…give Alexis my condolences. I will be thinking of her.

    Laurie

  7. psychscribe says:

    Interesting post…that last quote though, seemed to contradict the point you’re making, at least as I understand it. Shouldn’t an accountability partner care about what you say or think or do?

    One other thing – criticism – I see criticism as an assault on the person’s identity – Better yet, IMHO, is gentle suggestion, or concern about a person’s behavior…

    That being said, its interesting the synchronicity of you bringing up pride. That is the exact theme we’ve been working on in my bible study.
    And pride is a tough one for many of us, myself included…

    Thanks for such a thought provoking post.

    mssc54 replied:

    psychscribe, I believe that criticism is rarely helpful.

    However, the point of having an accountability partner is that you have developed a close enough relatinship that when this person approaches you with a concern you do not see it as a criticism or an attack. Instead you know this person (whom you value) has your best interest(s) in mind and are willing to listen and seriously consider if what they are saying has merrit. Then, after reflection, if you determine that this person was on target you implement whatever change or correction is necessary.

    Additionally, pride is most difficult to overcome. Once again, if we are to overcome pride, we must first admit that we may in fact have some (or at least one) area in our life that we haven’t been able to “master.”

    Thanks for stopping by!

  8. brianshaw says:

    Good post. We’ve had friends ask us to be their accountability partners then abandon us when we held them accountable.

    Anyway, I like Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

    mssc54 replied”

    brianshaw, your experience is not at all uncommon.

    Most people SAY they want to be held accountable… just as most people SAY they are a Christian.

    Don’t tell me, show me how you live your day to day life. 😉

  9. kweenmama says:

    Can an accountability partner be God?

    mssc54 replied:

    kweenmama, of course we will all ultimately be accountable to God.

    However, for the purposes of day to day life, I have never met an individual willing to see Him to such a degree that they always hear His voice and then act on that impression.

    Typically a live human being how can “yank your chain” when it neets yanking is better.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting! 🙂

  10. Des says:

    Wow, home run on this one!

    My only gripe is that a vast majority of churches would read this and say that Christ is our accountability partner and that’s good enough. So many Christians are dieing week to week and coming to church with a good front on. If we would only take to heart the words you wrote, how much farther along we’d be as a movement.

  11. Amber says:

    Wow… great post. Really good Michael… *big hug*

  12. Tessa says:

    Great post! That is so, so true. It is pride that stops people. I love your quotes!! I am a quote fanatic and love to find good ones. These are great! My hubbie is my partner, and we let each other know when we’re headed the wrong way and praise each other for going the right way.
    We all know people who are to proud and need help, but like your last quote implies, we should only worry about ourselves-account for ourselves. We can only help those who want it, and even then they have to do most of the work.
    I use to judge people a lot, and try to change people-my friends and family who I thought needed help, who were hurting and I let it hurt me too. But after much soul searching and good quotes, I know what you’re talking about. I have learned to accept people how they are, who they are, where they are, and give so much time to improving myself I have no time to judge others.

    mssc54 replied:

    Accountability is not about judging others. It is about (typically) two people who know each other very well and each person want’s the other to honestly help them “reach the next level.”

    In order to be involved with an accountability partner your biggest concern should be the well being and integral growth of your partner. If either person is more concerned about the relationship it won’t work.

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