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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Accountability

Accountability.  Not a word we talk about too often.  I've actually only heard it when it is suggest to those who are battling an addition. But today I want us to look at other areas of accountability.

The word accountability means, "responsibility to someone or for some activity".  As Christians, we are all accountable to someone - in fact, many someones - depending on our age and stage in life.  We have specific responsibilities in regard to accountability.  The Bible actually  shows us the dangers of living a life without accountability.  In order to realize how you and I are accountable in various areas of our lives, we must be totally honest with ourselves and others in our lives, but most of all, we must be honest with God.  After all, He knows the truth, anyway!

Let's look at some of the areas of accountability:

As children of God:  
Obviously, the most important area of our accountability is to our Heavenly Father. He is our Creator and He knows us better than we know ourselves because He knows everything about us.  We will give an account of our lives to God on Judgement Day.  We are responsible for the way we choose to live our lives and will be held accountable for the way we live it.  His gift of salvation is free because of Jesus Christ dying for us.  What we do with that free gift is up to us.  We'll be held accountable.


So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. 
Romans 14:12


In marriage
Married couples are accountable to their mates.  Husbands and wives say vows on their wedding day pledging their love for each other as they enter into a life-long commitment.  Those vows hopefully stated that each would love, honor, and cherish (or something like that), but also to remain faithful until "death do us part".

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Ephesians 5:21 (and following verses tell more about husbands/wives)  


As Parents and Guardians:  
Parents are accountable to their children.  It is the parents' responsibility to teach their children right from wrong.  The parents should take care of the children's physical needs, nurturing them and guiding them so that they, themselves can become mature and responsible adults.  Parents care for their child's emotional needs, and should be examples and teachers within their spiritual lives. However, when those children grow up, they become accountable for their own lives.  Parents can still help and guide, but the choices and decisions the children make eventually must become their own accountability issue.


 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.  Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! 
Matthew 18:6-7


As Children
Children are accountable to their parents, as well.  Children must (or should) obey their parents, respect their parents, and honor their parents.  (Of course, this is only when it is in accordance with God's Will.  Unfortunately, in many situations, parents aren't accountable for their own actions and the children are the ones who are hurt the most.)


Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise.
Ephesians 6:1-2


In other relationships as employee/employer.....friends and coworkers.....students/teachers, etc. and as citizens in our town, state, and country:
In all relationships, we must be fair, honest, trustworthy, and truthful. Being accountable is accounting for what we are up to, whether we are young or old, male or female.  We have responsibilities and it is our "job" (whether paid or unpaid) to fulfill those "jobs" to the best of our abilities. We are responsible and accountable to others and they, in turn, are accountable to us.


Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 
Romans 12:17

Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: … For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. 
1 Peter 2:13, 15
In the church:
Brothers and sisters in Christ are accountable to each other and to the leaders....the elders of the church (also called shepherds, overseers, and pastors.....always plural).  The elders are accountable for the church they serve.  Just as a shepherd takes care of his sheep, the elders should care for the "flock".....for the church.  They will give an account for themselves, but also for their "flock".


So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 
Romans 12:5

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
 Hebrews 10:24-25


Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.
Hebrews 13:17


To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
1 Peter 5:1-3

It takes time, energy and love to hold someone accountable.  It takes humility and trust to be held accountable.  Sometimes accountability may be scary.  Sometimes it may be hard.  But in everything, being held accountable and holding others accountable is realizing that we are serving God by doing so.  We are serving Him because we know that we are ultimately going to be held accountable by Him.

Accountability is not about judgment here on earth. It is about love.  Loving ourselves and loving others so that we may be what God has called us to be. 

Are you willing to be accountable for your life? Are you willing to love someone enough to hold them accountable in their walk with God?

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