It takes two to make a relationship work well. A team. A give and take. Iron sharpening iron. We see this played out in every area of life whether in personal relationships, a body of believers, or in business partners coming together to make a deal. It’s that art of working together which makes us learn to be accountable. Yes! That ‘A’ word we often want to avoid.
Accountability. No matter where we are in life, what position we hold, what responsibilities we do or do not have, accountability should be our constant companion. How many times do we hear of someone’s “fall from grace” and on the heels of the news we learn that no one around them was asking the hard questions.
Recently, I spoke with someone who was walking through difficult situations in both personal life and ministry. She confided that although she had acknowledged to others she was facing some struggles, few reached out because they viewed her as ‘strong enough’ to not really need them. Yet that thought process is rarely a glimpse of reality. In fact, last I read, we are all fallible humans.
Our Creator knew this truth. He purposefully designed us to NEED MORE than ourselves. If we did not need more, we would not need to have a relationship with a Deity greater than ourselves. He also created us to desire and need connection to others in our lives. He wanted us to learn more about Him by learning more about healthy relationships.
We all have heard the saying, “No man is an island.” Even Christ lived this truth while on Earth when He chose to live with His disciples. And in His darkest hour, He took three men to the garden with Him to pray. Christ knew the fight He was about to face was one that, in His humanity, He could not fight alone. He needed the strength gained by having others pray with Him.
It was always His plan that none of us would be an island to ourselves. None of us would be disconnected. No leader or pastor would be a law unto themselves. If we won’t allow others to speak into our lives, how can we “rightfully” speak into the lives of others? That is how the iron sharpens the iron.
“Catch the foxes, the little foxes, before they ruin our vineyard in bloom.” Song of Songs 2:15 (CEV)
No matter the type of relationship – marriage, dating, co-workers, friends, or our church family – outside circumstances will work to destroy its growth. The style in which Song of Songs is written causes us to not always understand who is speaking in the verse. But the words of verse 15 applies the plural nature, making the statement clear: “Let us fight together to catch the foxes that are hiding, ready to destroy what holds our promise of growing in our trust of each other.” We all need the trench buddies that we can trust to be at our side and not betray our hiding place.
Ultimately, there is one main relationship to not allow the foxes to destroy. Our relationship with God Himself. The enemies fighting that relationship often are small. Little compromises. Ignoring that still small voice. Little indulgences. Not guarding our spoken words. Letting activities steal our time. It all fights our connection to our Lord. That is where the accountability is most important. When that is broken, our earthly relationships become weak.
Accountability also requires meeting one on one with either mentors or friends who are comfortable to ask the hard questions. It’s the hard questions that are needed. The ones that help us to examine our own hearts and motives. Questions like —–
“How is your heart talk?”
“What is your attitude to your children?”
“What happened to the trust you had in your spouse, boss, leader, yourself?”
“Who’s voice are you listening to? Who are you secretly talking with?”
“How is your prayer life?”
“Who’s controlling you? God? Others? Your emotions?”
“What are you dwelling on in your thoughts?”
“How well are you fighting the temptations to compromise? Are your boundaries still clear or becoming blurred?”
“Who do you need to forgive today?”
“Is there a scripture to back up how you feel?”
“Who’s approval are you seeking? God’s or man’s?”
Becoming accountable means becoming vulnerable. You choose to lay it all out there. The good. The bad. The ugly. There is beauty in watching Him meet you in the broken places. It is allowing someone else who is trustworthy to see the hidden side of you, walk with you through the mess, and rejoice in the tools you learn as you become whole again. A you that is more like Christ.
Accountability sets a trap for the foxes in life. Lack of accountability often ends up in broken relationships. Too often our defenses block us from allowing others to speak into our lives. We think they cannot understand where we are. They just don’t grasp the full picture. And we walk away, taking our hurts and offenses with us. Leaving behind us a trail of brokenness.
Being vulnerable. It is not easy. It takes courage. And a desire to become who you were meant to be. But it is the stuff that makes us better individuals and better as a whole community.
Being raised in ministry, I can relate to the young woman struggling alone. My heart was always after God. That resulted in being in leadership from the time I was in middle school. But looking back, I can honestly say very few people actually knew me. The real me. The struggles that only my heart and God heard about. And with that lack of mentoring came brokenness. Thankfully for me, it drew me to depend on Jesus even more. But too often that is not the case. Too often the broken ones stumble in their hurt, or completely walk away from truth………and no one is there to help. Honestly, I do not always WANT the hard questions. But I NEED them. We ALL do!
Are we joining together and setting fox traps? Or do we just come to a service on Sunday, get our feel good on, then go our separate ways for the week? Do our local churches look like community life or is it just a weekly event because of an obligation to a place or person? Are we truly connected and vulnerable with each other, or could we just be playing the part? Are our pastors meeting one on one with someone that speaks into their lives other than their spouse; someone who will hear those hidden talks of the heart? If not, the fox trap has not been set.
Let’s choose to be trap setters! Let’s make a difference in the world around us by becoming vulnerable and trustworthy to each other. Let’s catch the foxes before the vine is destroyed.
Who will take this journey with me? Let’s set the traps together!