I have been thinking lately about the concept of accountability. It’s fascinating to notice that in the Church (Catholic and denominationally) we understand that we need to be held accountable for our actions; but my question is simple. Are we really being held accountable and do we hold ourselves accountable? I want to take a look at this from two separate perspectives. First I want to consider this concept from our own perspective, and I also want to consider this concept from our neighbor’s perspective. The assumption in both these perspectives is that we know that there is something that is needing to be kept in check, and that we have known what it is for some time.
When it comes to us personally we all know we have things in our life that we need to be doing or fighting against. One thing that I notice is that when I am in a situation where I know what I should or should not be doing, I try and find a way to hide and run away. It’s difficult to have to face down our moral failures when we do what we shouldn’t or when we fail to do what we should. It actually does more damage to us when we don’t see those failures because we are left in ignorance to continue. On the other hand, when we see our need for accountability and our struggles in what we are fighting against, we are able, for the first time maybe, to look up and seek assistance.
This concept of accountability from another person’s perspective is really what I want to flesh out. As someone who has some serious demons, it’s obviously a burden on me to have to deal with these things. What is worse, is when others know these burdens. For me, seeing that I have people in my life who know that there are things I am doing that are damaging, but also see me doing nothing about it, makes it all worse. It’s like saying, “I know I’m messing up, just pay me no attention.” What do you do in that situation? What do you when everything you want to do is exactly what you should not do, and what you should do is terrifying? You submit to accountability and walk into the storm. Now this is obviously easier said than done, but it’s nonetheless true.
A quote that I read recently says, “Life is like photography, we develop in the negatives.” I think it’s so true here. So long as we allow our sins and struggles to be hidden, we perpetuate the idea that we are okay and don’t need help. Interesting thing is that I have noticed that those who don’t actually need help never have to say they don’t need help. They just simply don’t need help. It’s only those, like myself, who yell that they don’t need help, that really do need it. For those of us who know, who are aware, you have to walk into that. It can’t get better any other way.
A couple of final thoughts on this: It may get harder to struggle. Once you pull something hidden into the open, it’s really hard to kill it. That thing that has a hold on you wants to scream and fight until its last breathe. There is nothing you can do about that if it happens except keep doing what you know to do. Keep submitting to accountability and keep fighting like your life depends on it. This verse from Hebrews 12:4 has been very helpful for me to keep in mind:
“In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”
In contrast to that, never forget It is finished and you are already forgiven.