Sharpening in circles

In the last post we looked at Proverbs 27:17, As Iron Sharpens Iron, so one man sharpens another. Most would agree that if we are going to mature as Christ followers (men); it is imperative that we are in meaningful relationships with others. I often hear the word accountability used in the context of meaningful relationships for men. I hear something like this; men need accountability groups, a place where they are accountable to other men.  What are we talking about here, what does that word mean for us relationally with other men?

scoldingI think what is implied is this; that one man will do stuff to hold the other in line, to help them stop sinning, doing self-destructive stuff or things that hurt others too. So in order to stop doing this bad behavior we need a guy to hold us accountable and this might look like calling another man daily or weekly to check in and ask some tough questions that will hold one’s behavior in check. This may come in the form of a verbal scolding or rebuking if necessary. It might sound like this; “Why did you do that again, we talked about this problem last week and I gave you a verse to memorize?” Or, “Stop that, can’t you see how you are hurting yourself and others?”

Here is the problem with accountability when it looks like the example above…a truth from my friends at TrueFaced, and from the life of Jesus.

“Accountability is a principle of law and it will never ever, ever, ever, ever, assist you with sinning less. Accountability is a good thing when you measure tasks, it is never the right principle when you measure behavior, because it is a principle of law. Is it really possible for Christians to put so much confidence in the work of Jesus Christ (at Calvary) that we really do believe that He has already put in us a righteousness that can love, and instead of having to show you how good I am at anything, I humbly need to learn from you how to be loved? We get that right, and an early church changed the world.”

So…what you and I are after is a relationship where you can trust me and I can trust you, be vulnerable with each other and experience a safe loving relationship in His grace,, one where the worst about me can be known and I would still be loved by you and loved even more.

You see, relationships grounded in principles of accountability (see above) will always ignite our shame and leave us stuck, driving us eventually into hiding. Recall Adam and Eve in Genesis 3…and see their response to the realization of their sin which resulted in the first human experience with shame. It is no different for us. Accountability as defined above will actually ignite our shame and we will go into hiding or masking.So…the next question to explore, what are these circles of trust, how can I find one, do they exist? More to come….


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