An Argument for Accountability
So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Romans 14:12
An interesting note in history: “The most ancient law code known to historians, the Code of Hammurabi, king of Babylon (c. 1728-1686 B.C.), divided the population into three classes: “gentlemen,” “citizens,” and “slaves.” The gentlemen enjoyed special privileges, but they were also punished more severely for their offenses.” (15,000)
“Accountability” is a noun that means “the fact or condition of being accountable; responsibility.” Synonyms include: responsibility, liability, and answerability. To be “accountable” then is to be “held liable, responsible,” or even to accept “blame.”
As human beings, we are all accountable to God. We are accountable to our Creature as we are His creation. The Scriptures gives us several benefits of accountability. While in stubbornness and pride, we avoid, deny, or run away from accountability – it is actually a good thing to be accountable.
The Greek word for “Account” is also used in our Bible to say: “something said (including the thought); a topic (subject of discourse), also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive.” It is translated into the words: “account, cause, communication, concerning, matter, mouth, preaching, question, reason, reckon, shew, speaker, speech, talk, thing, tidings, utterance, word, and work.”
We get the idea that our accountability is for our good and the good of others. There is an account for good thoughts, words, deeds, attitudes and actions, and there is also an account for evil thoughts words, deeds, attitudes, and actions.
Pastors give an account to God for their people. Hebrews 13:17 states, Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
Evil Doers give an account to God for their behavior. 1 Peter 4:5 declares, Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.
Christians give an account to others. Philemon 1:18 informs, If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account.
In this case, Paul was giving an account on the behalf of a run-away slave named Philemon. He was willing to pay a price so that his friend would have everything right in his life concerning his relationship with others. Paul was willing to use his own resources and reputation to make sure that Philemon also did the right thing.
Other examples of accountability include:
- David and Jonathan.
- Elijah and Elisha.
- Paul and Timothy.
- Peter and John.
- Ananias and Sapphira. (they were accountable for their wrong)
If Ananias and Sapphira held each other accountable for truth and right, then their tragic story may have been different.
Steve Jobs kept people’s attitudes in “check” at Apple. He said: “My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other, and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: Great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.”
I’m not sure about the Beatles, and they are not our model. He was right in how people in our lives can balance us and help us keep right perspectives.
Who are you accountable to? We will all answer to God one day, but who are you accountable to today? Who in your life can call out your sin or bring to light your bad attitude? Who do you have that challenges wrong thinking? Who is trying to help you grow out of childish thinking?
Do you listen to your spouse? A husband or wife can be used to encourage right thinking and to challenge wrong thinking.
Do you listen to the boss? More than because he has the payroll. Do you listen to correction from the boss and then change for the better?
Do you listen to the pastor of your church? He will give an account for you. When he gives advice and you “know better” or “do not care” to hear or it is something that you “do not like” it is something for which you will be held accountable for.
IF you do not listen to your spouse, your boss, or your pastor, who do you listen to?
In reality we are all accountable to something or someone. In the end we will answer to God, but in the meantime, people are answering and are accountable to their pride. Their ego. Their bank account. Their work ethic. Their parenting style, etc. We can show such responsibility to objects and not be objective about the direction of our lives.
Find a person to hold you accountable for good. Be humble. Accountability is good. Talk. Communicate. Resolve. Find resolution. Work it out. Change. Grow. Encourage others. Get real. Be accountable.
Don’t argue with the concept of accountability. Embrace it.