Accountability is responsibility. Responsibility means having a duty, an obligation to someone or something. Accountability means not only holding others accountable, but also holding yourself accountable – being responsible for your own actions.
As a Christian, this means that I am responsible for my actions as a Christian. It means that if I do something that does not reflect Christ, I must claim responsibility, expect to be held accountable, and bear the consequences. As Christians, this means that we must all hold each other accountable, as well as take responsibility for every action we make, and every word we speak. (No playing favorites – everyone is accountable.)
There are two aspects to this: accountability within the church, our spiritual family, and accountability within our personal families.
One Body, One Church (Spiritual Family Accountability)
1 Corinthians 12: 20 & 26 says, “As it is, there are many parts, but one body.” “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” (NIV)
We may all be individuals, but we are all a part of one body: the body of Christ. When one of us suffers, we bear that suffering with them. When someone rejoices, we rejoice with them. When someone sins, we don’t shame them or judge them, we push them back to Christ. When someone stumbles, we help them back up. We encourage, inspire, challenge, push forward, are faithful, persevere, prevail – with and for each other. And we love; above all, we love. This is how it should be. This is what it looks like to be responsible for one another, to hold each other accountable.
For Better, for Worse (Personal Family Accountability)
There are three ways in which we should be accountable within our own families:
- Child to Parent Accountability
This, I believe, is our primary accountability. In Ephesians 6:1-3 it says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” (NIV)
Our responsibility towards our parents is to obey, honor, and respect them.
- Sibling to Sibling Accountability
Luke 17:3 says, “So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.” (NIV)
Our responsibility towards our brothers and sisters is to rebuke (in love), forgive, and encourage them.
- Personal Accountability
Within each aspect, one important thing remains exactly the same: your responsibility for yourself. A great challenge will be to build the habit of taking responsibility for your actions. This will often mean being willing to admit that you are wrong, along with remaining humble when you are right.
Remember: you alone are responsible for your actions and reactions – no one else.
Lastly, I will say this: pray for patience – lots and lots of patience. Because accountability is no easy road. Really, just be praying in general. For strength, wisdom, kindness, etc. (Keep building that habit of daily prayer!!) And finally, KEEP PERSEVERING.