Day 8: Accountability
CASUALTIES OF WAR
The movie Casualties of War portrays a historical account of a squad of soldiers in the Vietnam War. The film is stark, bold and honest about the things seen and done by this squad during a time of brutal conflict. In a place where life could be snuffed out in an instant, where there are little to no consequences, they witnessed terrible, life-changing, awful things. Sadly, they also participated in such things. The audience witnesses this team of soldiers abduct, torture, and rape a young Vietnamese girl. The act is shrugged off by most as simply a casualty of war, an inevitable part of the war they were caught in. All are on board with the mindset of complacency except for one.
Private Erikson (played by Michael J. Fox) refuses to be a part of the act. He took it a step further, calling the soldiers out by saying, "Just because each of us might at any second be blown away, we’re acting like we can do anything we want, as though it doesn’t matter what we do. I’m thinking it’s just the opposite. Because we might be dead in the next split second, maybe we gotta be extra careful what we do. Because maybe it matters more. Maybe it matters more than we ever know.”
Erikson understood that accountability almost always looks like confronting those close to us in difficult ways. This is not done out of hate but out of love. Despite his friends succumbing to their own selfish desires, Erikson stood up for their souls. In the midst of something terrible, he had the courage to call them out.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. -James 5:16 (NIV)
Love-based accountability is absolutely vital in the journey towards freedom from sexual sin. It is one of the most important aspects. Sound accountability means confessing your struggle, answering tough questions, and refusing to remain stagnant in the process of sanctification. Accountability is so important because without it, we are only trying to measure up to our own standards. When we bring others into the fold, we drag our sins into the light and allow others to bear our burdens.
By confessing our sins to one another, we fight our weaknesses together, strengthening our fight against the darkness in our own hearts. There are times even to this day that I try to hide my sins out of shame, often feeling alone and vulnerable. The truth is, it's only a matter of time before the truth comes out. Once my brothers in Christ knew about my struggles the game changed. Suddenly the odds tipped in my favor as now I had people praying with me and for me. Where I was once wasting away in my struggle, I was now standing firm on the battlefield.
When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. -Psalm 32:3-4 (NIV)
STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
I once read a story on draft horses and how much weight they are capable of pulling. A single draft horse can pull a load of approximately 8,000 pounds, depending on the horse. When you add in a second horse, you'd expect this amount of pull-force to double. In fact, two horses can actually pull three times the load of one, upwards of 24,000 pounds. This remarkable phenomenon is an excellent tribute to teamwork. When facing these temptations alone, we will fail. Biblical Christianity was never meant to be done alone. You and I must have accountability, someone that enables you to stand up and fight even when it's hard. People who have your back at all times, no matter what.
HOW TO UTILIZE ACCOUNTABILITY
- Talk every day
Try to be in touch with your accountability partner, or vice versa, at least once per day. This can be an email, phone call, text message, etc. When you know you have to answer to someone daily it can alleviate some of the power of temptation.
- Ask tough questions
Your accountability partner needs to know up front that you want to be asked tough questions. A simple “how are you?” allows us to hide our sin. If you know that you won’t be asked about your sexual purity then the accountability loses its effect.
- Be honest
It’s easy to hide our sin even with accountability. This is especially true after a certain period of lasting victory. The temptation becomes “I’ll just get better from here, they don’t need to know that I stumbled this one time.” Understand that it was never about your "streak." This thing (salvation) is a process. You and I need Christ to forgive us even on our best day. In fact, the Bible describes our best day (righteous acts) as filthy rags to God. The Gospel is about grace. Therefore there is no reason to not be completely honest with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Day 8 Application
Do you have accountability? Why or why not?
What would the ideal accountability situation look like in your life?
Have you spent time with God today (prayer, reading the word, worship, etc.)?
Since the last lesson, how have you been with maintaining your sexual purity?