Accountability: Doing Life Together
It’s only in 2019, almost 19 years after I became a Christian that I am fully embracing what accountability actually means — and entails. Growing up as a teenager in the church, had meant that things ought to have been done by the book. We ended up being so legalistic about so many things, such as [not] going out to have a good time with friends.
We can get so caught up about the things we don’t do: “I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t do drugs. I don’t go to the club, etc” that we actually don’t focus on what we are and ought to be doing.
Within corporate, marital or leadership contexts, I can understand the absolute, imperative and obligatory needs for a structured and accountable set of rules to abide by as James 3:1 states “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”
However, when it comes to individual lives on an inter-personal level, I would like to submit that they do not have to be legalistically accounted for, as if we were inanimate people. It’s based on, and anchored in relationships. We used to strictly expect to know what one person is or isn’t doing in their lives concerning their walk with God. I have realised that wasn’t doing or bringing life. It was frankly more of a stock-taking exercise.
Whilst the intention was noble, the execution wasn’t — it made us to be like accounting books having to account for every single cent to make sure the balance sheet was on point.
I’m realising now, that it’s about freedom of being in relationships. The Bible encourages us not to neglect meeting together (Hebrews 10:25). I now see accountability as doing life together as we literally cannot force one another to do what they don’t want to do.
I am personally thankful to have some friends with whom we speak truth in love with one another. One does not have to tell the other every single thing — one may not even mention some events immediately, but so long as we’re doing life together in truth and love — this is what matters.
Having said that, there are also moments when I have had to call a best friend immediately and run like Joseph did and literally account for my very life. We may not always get it right but as long as we still keep the “living stones” (1 Peter 2:5) spirit in how we do life — we will excel in our lives.
I’m reclaiming the word ‘accountability‘ to mean “organically doing life together“, especially in a busy and isolating city like Joburg.
By Shingai Ndinga
November 28, 2019
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October 23, 2019