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Held to Account

Romans 14:12-13

12 Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God.13 So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.


This year has been incredibly contentious in every part of American culture. It is yet another sign that we are even closer than we often realize to the end of the Age and Jesus' triumphant return. It has been a year of whistleblowers and accusations from the offices of government all the way to the Church house. There are some instances that have been empowering and eye opening, and there are others that have been heartbreaking and sobering to my soul. Regardless, what's taking place is needed and required for the purifying of the latter days Church. It should also be clear that every accusation deserves to be scrutinized and investigated with the utmost care and respect for everyone involved. For the accuser and also the accused. Not one person is above accountability, everyone is capable of sin and walking out of the grace of God. Not one, aside from the Person of Jesus has lived a sinless life in the whole history of humanity. This is an irrefutable fact that should cause an overflow of humility in our hearts. When it is exposed that a trusted leader or authority has committed an egregious crime and has sinned against others and especially the Church, it should provoke grief in our hearts. Grief first for the victims, grief also for the leader whose heart was so broken they fell to such a point and then lastly grief over the sin in our own hearts that is unresolved or still needs confronting by the spirit of God. This last form of grief is how we prevent that same moral failure from propagating in our own lives. Again, we are all capable of the same sin as fallen human beings. For instance when a leader in the church falls because of abusive or toxic behavior, an appropriate question to ask the Holy Spirit would be, “Lord, is there any sin in my life that is in agreement with this behavior? If so, give me the power and courage to break this off of my own life. Help me to find people to hold me accountable. Help me to be honest and vulnerable in my own shortcomings”. It’s this heart posture that keeps us from hiding secret sin, behind our talents, charisma and points of strength. Every person from the lowest position to highest office of authority needs to have accountability built into their life. Not doing so is subconsciously saying I am more afraid of being caught in my sin than I am of being confronted and set free from it. It’s saying I value being adored and approved by men more than I value being pure and honest before God. The issue of accountability has a snowball effect. Whatever I feel like I need to hide from others actually has control over me, not the other way around, as it often can feel. The longer I work to hide it, the more strenuous the work becomes and the greater the sin takes root. It’s like an addict who perpetually tells people they have their addiction under control until their addiction eventually consumes them and everyone they love. Until you become real and honest about your shortcomings, you will never be able to overcome them. In fact, I would go as far to say, a sin you refuse to confess, is a sin you’re comfortable living with.

It’s for this reason that we have put Life Group discipleship at the core of everything we do at First Church. What good is biblical information if we never apply it to our hearts practically? How can Scripture be applied to our hearts if we never become honest about our heart's condition? Truth and honesty are the two greatest tools of heart transformation. If I am being completely frank, this is also why Life Groups have also been the most contested ministry within our Church. No one wants to be “exposed”. Only after experiencing freedom can they genuinely grasp the vital connection between vulnerability with peers and the Holy Spirit within life groups. As are most things in life, what is painful and uncomfortable at first, is undoubtedly freeing and empowering later. I myself have made it a point to make sure that I am always a part of a Life Group. That I am always first, if I can be, to answer the question honestly no matter what I might feel it will cost me in my leadership position. I believe that those who have done Life Group with me would find that to be true. I also have found it helpful to myself and vital to my position, to have personal accountability partners and a committee of elders that I can bear my heart before. I know these people will carry my burdens with me and hold me to a higher standard that is honoring the Lord and the office He has given me. Lastly, I have submitted myself to other leaders that can intervene and pull me from leadership if ever I stray from the truth of God’s Word. This is a choice that I have made for my life that greatly protects my heart. Not doing so would be dishonest and harmful to the people I am leading. I invite anyone who has found me not to be who I present myself to be, to present their charges to the elders of the Church and Kaleo Leadership.

Without these mechanisms in place it is impossible for there to be healthy relationships between leaders and those they are leading. If you desire to be a leader this is a good thing, but also understand that greater authority requires greater responsibility and greater accountability. In order for you to be qualified to lead anyone else’s heart to Jesus you first need to take responsibility leading your own.

Although witnessing all the accusations in every sphere of influence around us this year has been difficult, we need to remember that it is a good and holy form of refining. We need to also remember that we get to choose to be held accountable by others today in submission and honor, or we can be held to account by God Almighty, in eternity, for what we tried to hide today. The choice is ours.


Love,

Pastor John



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