"Keepin' It Real" | Accountability In Friendship

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
Proverbs 27:17
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”  
Proverbs 15:22
Friendships are a beautiful thing, and Christian friendships are even better, especially when they’re done right, and remain centered around Christ. Your Christian friendships should challenge you. They should challenge you to practice what you preach and make godly decisions. You should be confident that your friends won’t sit back and allow you to make bad decisions and that they will tell you the truth whether you want to hear it or not.

What is accountability anyway? And why is it important in Christ-like friendships? Accountability is being responsible to someone for your actions, or being “answerable” to someone else. I like to say that it’s similar to having your conscience in human form. Accountability is the thing that helps you walk straight when the rest of the world is crooked. Don’t be fooled, accountability is NOT a choice, and it is very necessary to your relationship with Christ. You cannot simply opt out of being accountable to other Christians simply because you don’t want to live by the standards of Christianity. But don’t take my word for it; let’s take a look at what the Bible says about accountability. 
Daniel and his friends, David and Jonathan, David and Nathan (the prophet), and the Christians of the early church all knew how to keep things real in their communities. Paul saw that Peter was being two-faced around the Jewish Christians and Gentiles. Guess what he did? He called him out! Ananias and Sapphira lied to the church, and guess what? The apostles called them out (they ended up dying too, but not before the apostles held them accountable for their actions). In Corinthians, we see that Paul tells the church that they are allowing ungodly behavior to happen within the church walls. He encourages them to step up and put an end to the sinful behavior going on. We are also supposed to “spur one another on in love and good deeds.” There is also this passage in Galatians 6, “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gentlyCarry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
    These are only some of the verses that encourage accountability in the Bible. As you can see, accountability is a part of the Christian walk, so make sure that you are accountable to people! It’s always a red flag when people have no accountability. They go off on their own and make decisions that they know are wrong. They insist that things are between them and God, and because of that, they don’t need anyone else. While we ultimately have to be accountable to God, we are also accountable to each other because we are a part of the same body. I have seen many Christians make bad decisions and go astray because they had no accountability. Most of the time, these bad choices have involved relationships (this could be another blog all on it’s own lol). A lot of people in the church get into relationships (even get married), without any accountability. It’s not coincidence that most of these end in failure. Don’t be one of those Christians who ruin their life because of bad decisions. Make sure your friends keep you accountable for your actions!
It’s not easy being a Christian in today’s society. However, it gets a lot easier when you have friends that will walk with you through life and keep you accountable. God is the final word on every decision in our lives, but he has given us a Christian community that can encourage us when we’re down, and help us make smart decisions when we don’t know which way to go. We need friends who will be real with us and tell us if we are about to do something stupid. We need those who will be honest and firm with us, despite how they think we will react. We need to surround ourselves with friends who will keep it real and be willing to call us out when we are wrong. I want to have friends that are mature and Christ-like, and who will call me out if I gossip about someone or decide to be mean to someone for no good reason.
    A note to the ladies: Let’s be honest, it’s in our nature to gossip and be catty on occasion. If our friends don’t like someone, we give that person attitude as well. If our friends gossip to us about someone else, we often listen attentively instead of stopping them.  I’m so glad to have close friends (and a boyfriend) who call me out if I get tempted to do anything that is unChristlike. That’s what accountability is all about. It’s about having a community of Christians who will not stand for compromise, nor stand for behavior that displeases Christ. It is about spurring your friends on towards love, good deeds and a closer walk with Christ. It’s important to be honest and open with your friends if they are doing something that is unbiblical. Despite how you think they might respond, it’s your responsibility to be honest with your friends. It’s also important that we heed the godly advice of our friends before making a decision. We cannot ignore the advice of our friends, which is why it’s important to make sure that your friends are wise and godly! You don’t want to follow bad counsel!
    If people do not inspire me to be a better Christian, they do not become my close friend. I will be their friend, but they will never become a part of my accountability group. Why? Because I want to be surrounded by people who make smart, godly decisions, and who will inspire me to do the same. Your Christians friendships should be different from worldly friendships. If there’s no difference between your Christian relationships and your worldly relationships, than what is the point? Make sure the people that are closest to you are those that will keep you accountable no matter what.

"Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. 
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."
Ecclesiastes 4:12
 Gabby Portalatin was born and raised in Brooklyn.   After 19 years of living a relatively self-centered Christian life, she traveled to Sao Paolo, Brazil to work with street children. It was that experience that put the call to be a missionary in her heart. That experience turned her world upside down, and since then she's been traveling to the darkest parts of the world to bring the hope of Christ to those who need it most.  As she waits for the day for God to call her to the missions field full-time, she works with the kids, youth and young adults at her church, while also teaching English as a means of sharing the gospel. You can follow her on twitter @gabby_tweets!