Speaking frankly again today because it seems to work. Both for readers and myself. Sometimes writing it out here makes me examine it a little closer for myself – accountability, if you will. And that’s just what I’m talking about – accountability versus judgement.
I recently had an experience with a friend that brought this home quickly and sweetly. In the course of a conversation, I innocently hurt my friend. After we got off the phone I just wasn’t at peace but I couldn’t figure out why. The next day she called and said, “That hurt and I want you to know that.” My spirit was overwhelmingly grieved and relieved at the same time. Grieved because I had hurt my dear darling friend. Relieved because now I could resolve the problem and make things right bringing both of us peace.
Judgement and accountability sit on opposite sides of a very fine line. Had my friend approached me with anger and spite and “I can’t believe you did that!!” it would have fallen on the side of judgement. And if I had received it with “Oh my gosh! She is just too sensitive!” it would have landed in the same zone only with me playing the role of judge.
But let’s stay here for another little minute. What if nothing was ever said to me at all? What if she had bottled it? It could have easily festered into judgement of every future action – what is the motivation? What if she had scattered the seeds on me? You know seed scattering right? When we share the experience in little passing conversations with a few people here and there and suddenly the dandelion effect has taken root. Pretty faces looking up at the subject but a root of deceit and anger just below the surface.
My dear heart friend is a dandelion killer just so’s ya know!
Oh but to be on the other side of the line! To have a friend come and say, “It hurt and I have a hard time believing you meant it that way.” To have the door still open for apologies and forgiveness. To have room in the house for love and healing! That is the side of accountability. The delivery of the problem is example one. But my heart already knew something was wrong. The tuning of the Spirit had already warned me that there was something off. I was more than willing to receive and repair the problem! I wanted restoration as much as my friend. Accountability is as much on the recipient as it is on the deliverer.
There’s the rub. Sometimes we get a chip on our shoulder with a certain person or a certain issue. It won’t matter what that person says – we will see it as judgement. They never liked us to begin with. They’ve always had a problem with this part of me or that. There will never be loving accountability in that relationship because it can’t be delivered or received without a poisonous filter already in place. And don’t get me wrong – sometimes people DO target others as judges! I’m not so naive as to believe that the chip doesn’t go both ways.
What about those things we just don’t want to be held accountable for? Don’t call me out on my lack of prayer or study! That’s between God and myself. Don’t call me out on being respectful of my spouse! That’s our marriage and our business. Some things we just don’t want to face as a problem.
But one last thing. Is it possible that sometimes we call accountability judgement because the Spirit has already been telling us we have a problem and we just don’t want to repent and repair? When others confirm what the Spirit has already been telling us we can no longer deny that there is a call to action. And that means we have to choose whether we will continue in sin or change our course.
I’ll let you do a little digging on your own for this one but to get you started on your follow-up study why don’t you head to Hebrews 12:4-17? This passage warms my heart because it reminds me why I need the discipline, takes a little sting out of the process, and reminds me that it’s ok to lovingly pursue accountability with my spiritual siblings for both our betterment.