Enough To Look Accountable

On Friday, Trisha and I were on our way to Indiana to show the house we still own to some potential renters. About half way through the trip, I got a call from a good friend. The conversation was sadly all too familiar.

“A few days ago, a really good friend of mine confessed to an affair”, my friend said. “How well do you know this guy, how close are you guys”, I asked. “He is a really good friend and I have been his accountability partner. What I’ve realized is that he has told me just enough to look accountable.”

That phrase rang in my head for the next two hours. For years, that was my life. I was transparent just enough to make people believe I was authentic. I was as honest as it was comfortable. I knew how to admit weaknesses and struggles that were socially acceptable and would score me religious points.

I’ve said this before, but it is still true: Accountability without transparency is useless.

Why do we hide so easily?
Fear of rejection.
Fear of judgment.
Fear of the consequences of honesty.
Fear of losing a relationship.

No decision made in fear is ever healthy.

I think it was Andy Stanley that said, “We fear the consequences of confession because we have yet to realize the consequences of concealment.”

I spent three years in an “accountability “ relationship in which I wasn’t transparent. It is an exhausting way to live. Lying to the people that are closest to you is never life giving.

In order to not go back to sharing “just enough to look accountable” I am consistently asking myself these questions as I attempt to be transparent…maybe they will help you today:

1. Am I telling the entire truth right now?

Shading the truth is easy. Exaggerating is often unnoticeable. As I am telling any story, but especially a story about myself, I want to always ask, “Am I telling the entire truth right now? Am I leave anything out or adding anything to this story? Am I lying when the truth will do?”

2. Am I sharing details that will make me look more spiritual than I really am?

You know how this rolls…we share parts of our heart with someone and 100% of our motivation is to show them how “close to God” we are. We want them to think of us as spiritual; we want to appear put together; we want to settle any doubt they may have of our relationship with God.

3. Am I trying to protect someone with only part of the truth?

I convince myself that if I tell the truth, it is only going to hurt a particular relationship. Truth does hurt a relationship…but it hurts like the setting of a broken bone hurts. There is tremendous pain in the moment, but then the relationship is set back in place to be stronger than it was before.

4. Am I telling myself the truth?

Sometime the person I need to be the most honest with is myself. I can deceive myself easier than anyone else. If I can’t be honest with myself, then I’m incapable of being honest with others.

These are four questions I use to be transparent, what would you add or take away?

10 Responses to Enough To Look Accountable

  1. Pingback: Favourite Links Friday: 9 awesome posts to check out! | Shooting the Breeze

  2. Thanks! Just what I needed to hear right when I needed to hear it. Btw I met Tricia at Armed and Dangerous and LOVE her. She speaks truth laced with compassion and grace.


  3. Jay

    Man…I wrestle with this. I have this huge fear that I’m not being completely honest with myself because of the habit of rationalization and justification I was in for so long. When I was in the process of “getting honest” I swung almost violently to the other end and list my ability to temper what I said to people. The freedom of truth was so Frey and new that I confessed my sin to over 50 people individually in the first year. I know this because I wrote down their names as some sort of badge of honor or something. I also made the confession in several group settings, so it may be well over 100 people who have heard at least some of my story. Still, I find myself wanting to hide things. Whether it’s that extra iTunes download or a couple of beers at lunch when I don’t need to spend the money. It’s frustrating not to know where the line should be drawn. I think I’m such a worm like it talks about in Proverbs 25, and my capital sins are now out in the open, I wonder what in the world I’m hiding from myself? What in the world am I hiding from my loved ones. I don’t like this fallen condition one bit. I don’t like how selfish I find that I continue to be. I struggle with whether I am

    • Jay

      Sorry about the reply cutting off. I was too wordy anyway. 🙂

  4. Great post Justin. I use the quote by Andy Stanley often when it comes to authenticity.

    I have discovered that the flesh has a religious and irreligious side to it. The religious side of my flesh would do and say all of the right things to make me look accountable, but in reality, no one knew about my addiction.

    Thanks for a great post and for all that you and Trisha do to help couples. Melody and I would love to meet you guys sometime when we are in Nashville.


  5. Great stuff bro…was reading Michael Hyatt’s blog this morning on what a mistake vs. sin is and it pairs really well with this.

  6. This is a great post. You are so right. We become professionals at deceiving ourselves. Unfortunately, this deception will never lead to peace or freedom. Deception keeps us in bondage. As scary as admitting our sins and weaknesses another..it’s a crucial step in the healing process. I love how you guys are using your story to teach others.

  7. I would add the question, “Do I know what perfect looks like?”

    We get it in our heads that God’s perfect will looks and sounds a certain way. That becomes just another excuse for keeping the truth hidden; if it came out, it would certainly throw a wrench in God’s plan.

    But I do not know what God’s perfect plan is, and I don’t know how He intends to effect it. It is incredibly foolish and prideful to think that my actions could upset or surprise what God has planned, especially when I should know full well that He will not bless lies.

    Thanks a lot for the article!