Rule #18 continued. Accountability.

 

Accountability can be a touchy subject. In the conservative Christian world it usually refers to extremist behaviors that removes all privacy in a big-brother style compound that requires emulating the pseudo-biblical rules of a mentor. On the other extreme accountability fizzles in an unproductive environment that doesn't last beyond the initial discussion and "setup" phase similar to a new year's resolution. In non-Christian circles accountability wavers between alcoholics/gamblers anonymous and the nonsensical "Don't judge me this is who I am."
 
When so many offences, history, and negative connotation exist in a concept or word it's time to go back to the raw definition. Accountability is being accountable or taking responsibility for one's actions.
 
Accountability holds 3 Biblical forms:
  1. Accountability to God as he will judge everyone in the end. Romans 14:12
  2. Accountability to brothers in Christ. Gal 6:1-5; 1 Thes 5:11; James 5:16
  3. Accountability to one self as all must live with their decisions. Matt 7:3-5
At no point is a Christian directly accountable to an unbeliever, the masses, nor the government. Not to say what unbelievers, masses, and governments judge means nothing. Indirectly God holds all accountable to love and bring Him glory. If a non-believe or government agree with God on a subject their judgment is as good as His. But the opinions and judgments do not play directly into a Christians judgment.
 
Despite the pollutions accountability is necessary for a good Christian life.
  1. Without accountability the world devolves into a pile of total dick-wads. The total dick-wad principle states that a normal person plus anonymity plus a platform results in a total dick-wad [sorry for the language - https://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19/green-blackboards-and-other-anomalies].
  2. Entropy work's on people. Entropy, the second law of thermodynamics, loosely states "a hot item and a cold item mixed together will result in a luke-warm item". It is ultimately interpreted as meaning the universe will eventually spread all of its energy across it, and because non-energy (cold) is so much more abundant than energy (hot) the result will be a near zero energy state. Applying this to human behavior as energy being Love and the drain being hatred and assuming that like the universe having near infinite cold if left alone all people will devolve to a place of near-total hatred. If a good person left alone in a room of negative people and do not do anything to intentionally curb their negativity they will become a negative person.
  3. Men when left alone (without women) tend to be slobs. It's a stereo-type but it's a true one. The bible said "it's not good for man to be alone" and then God created women. I truly believe it's because men are pigs and women make them into something presentable. A wife is the best accountability a man will ever have.
  4. Sin is subtle. The roles of accountability are all specilized in one primary task: give perspective. Sin is subtle, manipulative, and difficult to see in it's many forms. Without the help of mentors and friends eventually you will fall into one of it's traps.
Accountability when done correctly can bring life and peace to a relationship and to life. When following practices of accountability always come back go Jesus words "my yoke is easy and my burden is light". Holding someone accountable with healthy means start by defining the accountability partners role.
  • A father - someone who protects, teaches, encourages, gives perspective, corrects, punishes.
  • A mentor - someone who teaches, corrects as part of teaching, encourages, and gives perspective.
  • A friend - someone who reminds, relates, encourages, and gives perspective.
  • A student - someone who watches, learns, and asks questions.
Notice that only the fathers role includes correction and punishment. As an accountability partner the father should know all, hear all, and have freedom to speak into all. He should be able to correct, punish, and advise freely and as he sees fit. A father's role is first to protect, then to advise, then to encourage. A father should never intentionally harm. Harm comes naturally through disobedience. Setting up a son for failure only teaches that the father is not trustworthy. Do not seek a father. God is a father, your biological father is a father, and very rarely a long standing mentor will be a father. But a father is someone you may have one of (rarely two) in a lifetime.
 
A mentor is someone who is ahead of you in a walk of life. Not necessarily all of life. But a certain piece. I find mentors most effective when they are looked at for specific roles such as finance, spiritual walk, marriage, work skills, etc. As an accountability partner a mentor should hear from their student anything pertaining to the area of expertise. A financial adviser should hear about your success, failures, and difficulties in budgeting and investing. Then speak to those things. Correcting miss-understandings, encouraging discipline and research, and sharing experiences and new lessons. Pursue mentors. Seek them like the wisdom of proverbs. Give them the ability to hear your goals and speak into them and help you adjust and reach them. A mentor should never punish. A mentor should never try to step into an area he wasn't invited into. A mentor should never manipulate his students into following his teachings. A mentor allows, and even encourages making mistakes. A mentor advises he does not actively protect.
 
A friend is someone who walks beside you in life. While they may be ahead in some areas and behind in others they are ultimately beside. A good friend will listens to you, encourage you, and share their own experience with you. They may occasionally make mistakes with you and recover from those mistakes with you. They have access to most of your life and share perspective when they can. They are the first to remind you of your commitments and to encourage you to keep them. Not that this has anything directly to do with this point but I always appreciated the saying "A friend is someone who will bail you out of jail. A good friend will be in jail beside you." or I like to think keep you out of jail in the first place.
 
A student is someone who is behind you in a walk of life. It may seem odd to have a student as a form of accountability but it's really one of the best. A student forces the mentor to step practice what they preach. To seriously consider their own standing on issues and speak their resolve. A student asks questions that un-intentionally convict and call out bad practices or call into question unnecessary practices. They provide fresh perspective and give your own personal accountability purpose. In the end the reason to be a better person is first to honor God but shortly after to teach others to do the same. 
 

Comments

Dr. Smith used to say, "the opposite of love isn't hate. It's indifference." In the example of a social injustice, who is the greatest criminal. The one causing the pain/problem, or the one standing by who has the power but does nothing? What's truly more destructive in a marriage? Having a harsh argument where you attack each other one night, or simply becoming indifferent toward your spouse for years? In your example of entropy, cold is not an active force, but the lack of an active force - heat. I think that indifference is even more comparable to cold than hate. In a world of hate, it's natural for resistance to rise against it, often some of the most heroic. However, in an environment of indifference, it acts like a slow compromising of everything around it. It's a hard force, to identify, to be zealous against, and to defeat. Thoughts?

While I agree with the conclusion (don't be indifferent) I do not agree with the premise (Hate is not the opposite of love). At it's core love is placing others above yourself and hate is placing yourself above others. Indifference is is not the opposite of love in itself. Rather indifference and complacence is another form of hate. Indifference manifests hate in saying "I am so important that nothing else in this world matters".

Hate is at least recognition. Indifference is even further cold and self centered to the point of forgetting. God hates sin (another example is divorce). So, I guess hate itself is not wrong. God looked at sinful creation who had fully become indifferent to Him, except for Noah and family. God hated the sin so much that He wiped out mankind almost entirely, BUT He has never shown indifference. A God who's chief characteristic(s) is/are love (and holiness. Out of love, grace and mercy and out of holiness, justice) will express hate, but never indifference. So, in the discussion of opposites, I truly believe that the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference, making it perfect for your hot/cold analogy.
 
Have I just committed full blown heresy? Oh well, such is the purpose of theological debate/discussion.
 

My perspective looks like this: The opposite of saving the whales (http://www.savethewhales.org/) is killing the whales. Those of us doing nothing are not opposing nor the opposite of saving the whales. Suggesting that apathy is the cause of whales dying is crap. Whales are dying because people are killing them.