Do You Lie to Your Accountability Partner?
How easy is it for you to lie to your accountability partner? I was thinking back on a conversation I had with Chris Beall, a pastor who once deeply struggled with pornography and eventually committed adultery. One of his comments really struck me:
“I was in accountability the whole time I was cheating on my wife, and I lied to my accountability partners the entire time. Again, this is me: I need friends whose relationship I value enough not to lie to them. I don’t need a religious function that I go to on a Saturday morning that makes me have a false sense of security, but I still have the ability to deceive myself and them. . . . I need an environment of exposure, and I need friends who ask me the hard questions, who lying to them actually matters to me.” (Listen to the interview here)I often think about the pseudo-accountability I had in the past. I don’t remember any time I told an outright lie to my partners, but I was certainly deceptive:
- I would sugar-coat stories of recently committed sins with well-rehearsed words of humility and self-attrition.
- I would play the “elapsed time game” with my partners, strategically placing a week or so between the sin and the confession. This was my way of building up some track record of good behavior so my sin would seem insignificant.
- I would give surface answers to questions about my sin, revealing only enough information to soothe my conscience. I would avoid talking about more subtle sins like lustful fantasies and motives.
- I would have more than one accountability partner at a time so I could “rotate” my confessions. Each person was really only getting part of the overall story of how bad my sin had become.