Accountability as Safeguard

Accountability to another is the only way to safeguard against poor judgment, unconscious motivations, and self-deception.

—Archibald D. Hart in Leadership, Vol. 9, no. 2.

See: 2 Peter 3:17; Luke 22:32; Matthew 18:15-17

Recovering Hypocrite

Accountability to me is unnatural. My tendency is to only let you know enough about me to give you a good impression. I am a recovering hypocrite.

—CCM artist Steve Green, Christian Reader, Vol. 34.

See: Matthew 12:36; Luke 12:20; Romans 14:12.

A Lesson on Death and Taxes

Gary Thomas writes in Christianity Today:

Thinking about eternity helps us retrieve [perspective]. I'm reminded of this every year when I figure my taxes. During the year, I rejoice at the paychecks and extra income, and sometimes I flinch when I write out the tithe and offering. I do my best to be a joyful giver, but I confess it is not always easy, especially when there are other perceived needs and wants.

At the end of the year, however, all of that changes. As I'm figuring my tax liability, I wince at every source of income and rejoice with every tithe and offering check—more income means more tax, but every offering and tithe means less tax. Everything is turned upside down, or perhaps, more appropriately, right-side up. I suspect judgment day will be like that.

Leadership, Vol. 16, no. 2.

See: Matthew 12:36; Luke 12:48; Romans 14:12; 1 Peter 4:5.

The Answer to Television

The answer [to television] is not censorship, but more citizenship in the corporate boardroom and more active families who will turn off the trash, boycott the sponsors, and tell the executives that you hold them personally responsible for making money from glorifying violence and human degradation.

—Senator Bill Bradley. Leadership, Vol. 16, no. 4.

See: Matthew 12:36; 2 Timothy 3:1-2; 1 Peter 4:4-5.

Lost Responsibility

The single greatest loss in my time has been the idea that we are moral agents. Religion helped a great deal here. Religion taught that we are accountable for our own actions. Tribute is still paid to it today, but all that we have been talking about indicates that nobody really expects it anymore.

—Bill Moyers, interviewed in The Washington Post (quoted in First Things, Dec. 1992). Christianity Today, Vol. 36, no. 7.

See: Matthew 12:36; Romans 14:2; 1 Peter 4:4-5.

Responsibility for Emotions

You're responsible for what you do with your feelings, but you can't help having feelings. Feelings are.

—Nancy Anne Smith, Leadership, Vol. 1, no. 4.

See: Matthew 12:36; Luke 12:48; 1 Peter 4:5.

When a Promise Is Broken

When I took the job as head football coach at the University of Colorado in 1982, I made a solemn promise: I told everybody that with me, God was first, family second, and football third.

But I didn't keep that promise for long. The thrill and the challenge of resurrecting a football program in disarray simply took too much time and attention. As my teams kept winning year after year, I kept losing focus of my priorities.

When we won the national championship in 1990, many people said I had reached the pinnacle of my profession. But for me, there was an emptiness about it. I had everything a man could want, and yet something was missing. I was so busy pursuing my career goals that I was missing out on the Spirit-filled life that God wanted me to have.

All because I had broken my promise to put God first and foremost in my life.

—Bill McCartney, founder of Promise Keepers. Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 1.

See: Deuteronomy 6:5; Deuteronomy 6:13-19; John 14:23-24.

Paul, Barnabas, and Timothy

Every man should seek to have three individuals in his life: a Paul, a Barnabas, and a Timothy.

A Paul is an older man who is willing to mentor you, to build into your life. Not someone who's smarter or more gifted than you, but somebody who's been down the road. Somebody willing to share his strengths and weaknesses—everything he's learned in the laboratory of life. Somebody whose faith you'll want to imitate.

A Barnabas is a soul brother, somebody who loves you but is not impressed by you. Somebody to whom you can be accountable. Somebody who's willing to keep you honest, who's willing to say, "Hey, man, you're neglecting your wife, and don't give me any guff!"

A Timothy is a younger man into whose life you are building. For a model, read 1 and 2 Timothy. Here was Paul, the quintessential mentor, building into the life of his protégé—affirming, encouraging, teaching, correcting, directing, praying.

Do you have these three guys in your life?

—Howard Hendricks, professor at Dallas Theological Seminary. Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 1.

See: 1 Timothy 1:18-19; Acts 11:22-29.

Admitting You're Wrong

The guys who make up the popular Christian singing group 4Him have had their share of spats.

"Put a bunch of people together on a packed tour bus, and you've got a situation that's ripe for conflict," says group member Marty Magehee.

To resolve those conflicts, 4Him meets regularly with an "accountability board" of friends and pastors, where they're free to vent their feelings.

Says the group's Mark Harris, "One of the most important things we're learning is to say, 'I'm wrong! I'm wrong!' "

"That's hard for me," says the group's Andy Chrisman. "But I'm learning to let go of my need to always be right."

Says Mark, "Our love for one another grows stronger because we deal with our conflicts more openly and in a way the Bible commands us to."

Are you willing to admit to your friends when you're wrong? If you are, your friends likely will be too.

—Chris Lutes, editor of Campus Life magazine. Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 1.

See: Psalms 51:17; Matthew 5:3-10; James 5:13-18.

The Buddy System

1967. We were at war with Vietnam. And there I was, at the U.S. Army Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia. It was brutal.

I can still hear the raspy voice of the sergeant: "We are here to save your lives. We're going to see to it that you overcome all your natural fears. We're going to show you just how much incredible stress the human mind and body can endure. And when we're finished with you, you will be the U.S. Army's best!"

Then, before he dismissed the formation, he announced our first assignment. We'd steeled ourselves for something really tough—like running 10 miles in full battle gear or rappelling down a sheer cliff.

Instead, he told us to—find a buddy.

"Find yourself a Ranger buddy," he growled. "You will stick together. You will never leave each other. You will encourage each other, and, as necessary, you will carry each other." It was the army's way of saying, "Difficult assignments require a friend. Together is better."

Who's your "Ranger buddy"?

—Stu Weber, pastor of Good Shepherd Community Church in Boring, Oregon. Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 1.

See: Proverbs 18:24; Amos 3:3.