Spiritual Practice

Judgment and Accountability

Rachel Winters

Bubble gum pop2 TSP 93807388The other night, I sat down with a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile. We curled up in my living room to catch up; and after a few minutes, we flashed back to church camp. Like most summer campers, we had made commitments at the peak of Mt. Spiritual High; but we’d fallen short of our goals. Campers live in a spiritual bubble for a week. When they re-enter the real world, that bubble pops. A member of my youth group describes the experience as “Hello, World.”

This year was different, though. One night at camp, I was sitting with my youth group. One person told his story. Another opened up about the pain in her life. An hour later, the single box of tissues wasn’t enough to keep up with the tears. I know that God forgives us and heals us when we confess our sins and pray with one another. That night, I experienced long overdue healing. Because I had been afraid to trust people, I had carried a burden that I was never meant to carry alone.

Since the last day of camp, when we piled out of the van to go home, we’ve all messed up; but we’ve all changed too.

Honesty and Accountability

200288120-001I’ve been frustrated that my youth group isn’t as open as we were at camp. I’m also realizing that pride is stopping me from seeking accountability. To look at someone and to be completely honest takes a lot of guts. Often, we don’t realize how much we’re struggling until we admit it to another person. Looking at a friend and pointing out a sin is easy. So is yelling at a sibling. But to look at ourselves and to examine where we fall short is hard.

As we are held accountable, we are changing. God is working in our hearts and revealing our sins. As our pride is stripped away, we lose the judgmental attitude that causes us to point out flaws in others while refusing to look in the mirror. Instead, we’re working to become more like Christ; and we, in turn, are helping others to do the same. That’s accountability.

Begin asking God to let you see what God sees in your heart. As God shows you your sin, trust God to use the people around you to help you become more like God. Ask God to give you the love and courage to hold them accountable too.


devozine Praying Teen Group TS 78317328DIG DEEPER

Read Matthew 7:1–5. Call a friend you trust, and ask him or her to be your accountability partner. (If you don’t have a close Christian friend, pray that God will bring someone into your life.) Talk with each other about your temptations and sins. Pray for each other. Every week, check in with each other.


How does accountability work?


If you find out your friend is a worrywart, ask about particular situations he or she is worried about. Say, “When you trust God, you have no need to worry.” Write a note of encouragement or jot down a Bible verse for him or her to read.
  • If you are tempted to go to parties you know shouldn’t go to, your accountability partner might ask about your weekend plans, help you find out why you want to party, and offer to hang out with you on the weekends so you have something else to do.

Discover how you need to offer each other support and hold each other accountable.

Rachel Winters enjoys writing, spending time with her youth group, and learning more about what accountability looks like.

—from devozine (May/June 2009). Copyright © 2009 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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