Recently I was at Portico with a friend, discussing whatever comes to mind over a cup of coffee. We almost always say, "45 minutes and no more" but it always ends up being 2-3 hours. We jump from topics such as marriage, design, fishing, theology and dream together about the future that God might be calling us too.
And always lots and lots of laughing.
I have never been very fond of what we have traditionally thought of as accountability in Christian circles. First off, they all seem to revolve around the topic of lust. Don't get me wrong, I think we should have people in our lives that make sure we are dealing with temptation and sin and making life giving choices. I just think that keeping someone accountable to living the life of freedom that God is calling them too looks much broader than just one subject.
I've also noticed that there is a similar occurrence in marriage. Holding someone to "account" for their mistakes and frequently bringing up areas where your partner is "falling short" of what you want is a recipe for failure. Most of the time people don't need told what they are doing wrong, they just need love, encouragement and a listening ear.
I think we get the process backwards at times. We want to "speak truth" to others, but if we haven't invested the love and encouragement they need to be able to hear these challenges it will typically fall on deaf ears.
As I was walking to my car after coffee with my friend a funny phrase came to mind. I thought to myself, "I love the hell out of that guy." I'm not sure why this phrase exactly came to mind but it made me think...maybe that is what true friendship and even discipleship looks like. Each of us loving the "hell" out of one another.
Hell being the evil, torment, frustration, deadness and misery that each of us want out of our lives. I just don't think we are going to account each other into living "freely and lightly" (Matt. 11:30 MSG). I think it is going to take a much greater force than accountability and nothing less than love will do.
Go love the hell out of friends, family and even enemies today!