I was at Orland Square Mall in Orland Park, and as I threw my shopping bag into the trunk, I put my keys in the trunk to move a few things around in the back. After I finished, I slammed my trunk shut and literally as the trunk was closing I thought, “OH NO.” But sure enough, the trunk shut. And now, I was locked out of my car. Roughly 35 minutes and $185 later, I was finally driving home a little shaken and very frustrated.
We’ve all done some stupid stuff before. Oftentimes, it’s stuff that isn’t significant in the grand scheme of things (like locking your keys in your car, for example). It’s something that we can laugh off and soon forget about or simply tell as a story to make people laugh. But other times, the stupid stuff we do in life is significant. We’ve all probably experienced this directly either through our actions or the actions of others. It might be a habit you’ve developed that train wrecks your life. Maybe it’s a relationship with someone at work or in a circle of friends that went a little too far and now it’s jacked up your marriage. Others of us (you can’t see it, but I’m raising my hand right now) have done some stupid things financially that took us years to dig out of.
As a friend of mine says, “You can’t fix stupid.” But you can safeguard against it. That’s accountability.
The Bible has a lot to say about the valuable role of friends who speak truth into our lives and hold us accountable. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10; 12 says that “two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up… thought one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Proverbs 27:17 is my personal favorite. It says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
We all need relationships in our lives that speak truth to us. Hold us accountable. Sharpen us. They help guard us against the stupid stuff in our lives. And they actually help to develop and grow us in the process.
I’ve been blessed with a few friends in my life who have been this to me. In high school, I had a friend named Brent who was invaluable to me as a guy who would have tough conversations and hold me accountable for choices I was making. In college, I met one of my best friends C.J. Stephens. Over the years this guy has been an encourager to me and also someone who from time to time has offered me some great advice, even when it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. The same could definitely be said of Bobby Jackson, one of my co-workers (and Cultivate Pastor extraordinaire here at Suncrest). Nowadays, I have a friend named Ryan Trisler. I love Ryan and one of the things I appreciate is that he’s always quick to share his opinion and help me make decisions, especially when I’m struggling to be objective. On a few occasions, he’s shared some tough truth with me to help me steer clear of potential difficulties in my life.
For whatever reason, I think we tend to shy away from accountability. I think we hide from it because it stings sometimes to have people tell us we’re in the wrong. I know that my natural tendency is to shrink back from relationships where that’s the case. But having the courage to grant someone you can trust full access into your life isn’t scary, it’s smart. I think wise people understand that we all are prone to doing stupid things and they are humble enough to admit it. While it doesn’t solve everything, I think taking the next step to engage accountability relationships in our lives is one of the wisest things we could possibly do in our journey to be more like Jesus.
What about you? Do you have someone who speaks truth and accountability into your life? What has that been like?