3 Reasons Accountability Fails and What to Do about It

Contributing Writer
3 Reasons Accountability Fails and What to Do about It

Every so often, we hear of leaders (some well-known and others not as much) who fall into some level of sin or indiscretion. When this happens, it shocks many people, and when it happens in the church, it damages many people in the flock. Some end up leaving that church and for some, it even causes them to question their own faith.

If you really want to be accountable, then you must allow people to see everything, warts and all. This is not to shame or embarrass you, but to help you stay on track.

The process must exist outside of your control.

For this to work best, this process of transparency cannot be within your control. If you control it, then you go back to the problem of only revealing what you want people to see. However, if you know someone can see everything, that alone makes you think twice before making a sinful choice. That moment of rethinking before you do something is exactly what accountability is supposed to do.

There is a highway near our house where the speed limit is 65 MPH. This road is smooth and well maintained and people usually go well above 65 (obviously I am talking about all the other drivers out there, not me). There are two places on this highway where the frequent drivers know state troopers will be. Sometimes they are there and sometimes they aren’t. However, just knowing they could be there causes the drivers to slow down whenever they reach that part of the highway. This is accountability at work. Knowing that someone else will see the choices you make will hopefully cause you to make better choices.

You must surrender to the process.

As good as accountability can be, again, you are the central figure in whether it will work. You must choose to surrender to the process and give someone else the right to ask you the tough questions. If that is not part of the process, then your accountability structure is nothing more than a sham and it will fail.

You should be accountable to people you trust with your life and life’s struggles. Accountability does not mean you don’t have struggles or face temptations. It means you have a mechanism in place that will help you overcome them. When you have the right people around you, they won’t judge your struggle, but will walk with you through it. They are there to have your back in the areas you may be vulnerable, so you don’t fall into the temptation. Their job is not to enable you and cover your sin; their job is to support you so you don’t give into sin. If your accountability partners are enabling your sin, then they are not helping you at all. If you surround yourself with these kinds of people, it is only a matter of time before you fall.

When you sum up the conversation on accountability, it all comes back to you. It relies on your integrity, your honesty, and your willingness to submit to the process. If you remove these things, then you can have the right people and the right system in place, but if you don’t have the right heart, then accountability is going to fail.

I guess the summary is not that accountability doesn’t work. Better said is that accountability works in your life only if you want it to.

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Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Sanja Radin

Clarence Haynes 1200x1200Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club.  He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. His most recent book is The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. Clarence is also committed to helping 10,000 people learn how to study the Bible and has just released his first Bible study course called Bible Study Basics. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com