Character Assassins

I am likely to rock the boat on this one.  Over the years I have both promoted and participated in accountability partnerships and groups, and when I look back it makes me cringe.

But now I am going to be brutally honest.

I do not believe in “Christian” accountability (or actually using the word “Christian” as an adjective ever … but that is another story). 

This whole unbiblical concept of “accountability” makes me want to puke.  What I have come to learn over time is that no one “person” or even the “church” should hold anyone “accountable.”  The “accountability partner” is an unbiblical concept that I believe actually hinders the Body more than helps it. 

There is only one platform that works for a genuine follower.  This is being in a relationship with one another.  I do not look to the “church” or to any other “brother” or “sister” to hold me accountable.  I look toward brothers and sisters with whom I am part of the Body of Christ to love me, and care for me, but not to “hold me accountable.”

Love is expressed by care, including rebuke and discipline, not by reporting in to my “accountability partner” or “group”

Who wants to get their ass chewed up in a process that breeds justice and is always trying to fix a “problem”.  Who wants to be looked at as a problem.  Who wants to be lectured to when we fail.  What we need is grace, and grace is completely absent in the accountability partner system the church promotes.  If an accountability partner or group pounces on someone and punishes them for “sinning”, over time I think people will hide, conceal, and “fake it” in the future.  What I think the process comes down to over time is … I do not want to have my character assassinated, so I am not telling anybody anything.  When grace is absent, accountability breaks down.  And by-the-way, if you are going to hold someone accountable, which denominational doctrine (or set of rules) are you going to enforce to bring justice and to rid the problem… (Guess I would need to pick the right accountability partner or group to meet my needs, right?)

Let us take off our church-going-colored-glasses for just a minute.  Let’s look at this in a bit of reality.  If I am having sex with another woman, the last place I am going to break down and tell another dude or a group of dudes is not going be after eating biscuits and gravy at Cracker Barrel one morning.  The environments in which these “meetings” are typically held are ridiculous… it just does not fit.  Also, most people will learn the “system” within the institution.  If I wanted to, I could easily present “Brian Swan” as a wonderful “have-it-all-together” type of dude.  I can answer the 10 pre-made questions easily and it will be just what you want to hear.  It bothers the piss out of me that I could even package myself in that way and go with status quo (but I am glad I do not want to).  

As with any human-made system many of us have put our faith and trust in, we can figure out how it is all run and how it operates.  We can figure out exactly what words to say, just the right topics to talk about, and we could frame everything up to keep everyone around us off-course on who we truly are on the inside.  This to me is a huge problem.  The institutional church promotes individualism in very subtle ways, which actually keeps everyone a “surface” Christian.  Four years of meeting with men once a week in discipleship classes, and I do not know who they really are.  Seems like a cancer lump in the Body.  However, this is perfect for business.  It keeps everyone happy and disillusioned and you never have to love and care for anyone else, you just need to keep them in line and within the rules.

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6 thoughts on “Character Assassins

  1. I’ve been doing a lot of NaNoWriMo lately, so you’re title was interpreted completely differently by my brain. XD I’m back on board now, though.

    I try not to worry too much about other people’s opinions. I haven’t been approached for accountability partners/groups in a very long time, actually. I’d happily reveal a great deal to someone who was willing to sit and listen, but my biggest fear regarding that wouldn’t be them judging me as a terrible sinner as much as them thinking I’m fit for the insane asylum. HAHAHAHAHAH!!! (No, but seriously.)

    I say that just because such programs exist doesn’t mean you have to be a part of them. 🙂 If a church or congregation tried to force that sort of thing on me, I probably wouldn’t be too happy with them, either. (Though my college minister did tell me once that I needed to start wearing make-up. He was weird in a very metrosexual way.)

    1. Lady Tam Li – I hope your NaNoWriMo writing is coming along. Are you going to make 50,000 words? It is the 21st.. times a ticking!!!

      I got a chuckle on the insane asylum part (I have a feeling there is a bunch of us that would be sent there).

      The church as I know it does not force accountability groups on you, they just make you feel guilty for not being in one 🙂

      Take care.

  2. You have been accountable all of your life. Your education, for example; you were encouraged, challenged and and even cajoled to meet certain goals…even to behave. Accountability is related to goal achievement. You may believe that values and morals are not legitimate goals. But love is an important goal, and seemingly intangible. But it does not take much to quantify or measure love. Moral behavior and character development can be and should be goals and subject to accountability. The fact that you find it unbiblical is merely a matter of your particular perspective. You won’t find Sunday school in the Bible either.

    1. Bryan – Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Welcome.

      I am accountable, but to God. I am not accountable to a “accountability partner”.

      Love is the goal, like you said. Christ IS love. So that makes Christ the goal. Together we make up Christ. Together we make up love. We are to love each other, not hold each other accountable … I feel there is a huge difference between the two.

      Of course this is my perspective, but I will be the first to tell you that my perspective is not the end all way of doing things. I could be wrong, and most likely I am wrong. I am just writing honestly how I see it. I say things many people are thinking but are afraid to say out of being judged, which is sad.

      I just want people to question why they do things so together we can be stronger and not judge each other. If someone wants to enjoy having an accountability partner to help them in their chracter building … go for it.

  3. I couldn’t agree with you more, my brother. I see little difference between the accountability partner concept and the “going to confession” concept… except that in the latter scenario a priest at least has an official mandate of confidentiality and the communication is officially privileged. As Evangelicals, I don’t see why we should look to anyone other than Jesus as an accountability partner. To suggest that we need a peer in this role may even border on blasphemy / heresy because it suggests that our accountability to Christ and the conviction he lays on our hearts when we stray from God’s will is somehow not enough!

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