If you’re a porn user, you’ve probably mastered the art of covering your tracks by now- a few extra clicks and your secret is safe. Your parents, roommates, friends, co-workers…no one will suspect a thing. Ours is such an easy sin to hide. So, when you’re finally ready to move towards freedom, it takes a lot of work. You’ve spent years, maybe decades, building walls to keep people out of your business- now it’s demolition time. Those walls need to come down if you want real accountability.
But what is this “accountability” and what’s so great about it anyways? It’s essentially accepting responsibility for your actions (thanks Webster) – recognizing your own fault and owning up to it. In practical terms- in my experience- it means having someone to ask you about the very things you’d like to ignore, spurring you to repentant action.
The scary, off-putting part is that this requires confession. Unbridled honesty; transparency. And when you’ve spent years trying not to get caught, turning yourself in like that seems like a suicide mission. But God’s Word assures us it is constructive- “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed…” (James 5:16).
When you have someone confronting you and praying for you, you have gained a practical helper in your pursuit of purity, but I’ve found that there is another huge, often overlooked benefit to accountability.
For me, an accountability partner who I am fully honest with- who knows the whole truth about my tendencies and failures- is an incredible metaphor for God. Hebrews 4:13 tells us “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” There is nothing that we have done, said, or thought that our Creator is unaware of. Nothing done behind closed doors, or under the cover of darkness, or in the deepest recesses of our minds has ever been a secret. He knows our very hearts guys, and when we allow someone else a similar level of access, we become more aware of our desperate state, of how offensive our sin is, of its consequence, of our neediness, because they provide more tangible confirmation that we are known.
All in all, accountability is a wonderful thing. The relationship with your accountability partner may become one of the most important of your life. So, it is important to choose wisely. It’s advisable to choose a Christian who is strong in their walk so they can minister to you, slightly older so you can form a mentor bond, and someone you regularly see so you can easily form a routine of meeting.
But there is another consideration too- one that poses a particular challenge to those of us dealing with same sex attraction- gender.
For most men, it is a clear choice- partner with another man. It would be inappropriate to speak of porn or any other highly sexual subject with a woman, the object of their desires. It would create unnecessary temptation and the shared vulnerability and intimacy may do more harm than good.
For me, since homosexual tendencies are part of the equation, the choice seemed less obvious. The first person I confessed my porn problem to was actually a close female friend, mostly because we already had a strong relationship and I knew I could trust her. But accountability didn’t take. I was not completely honest with her, mainly because I wasn’t comfortable getting into details. The gender barrier still existed.
I needed a man-to-man talk.
It’s important to remember, even if we do have gay tendencies, we are men. God created us male- that’s the bottom line. We might feel insecure in our masculinity- inferior or isolated because we’re abnormal, but our man-card is never revoked; and we need to take our place in the brotherhood of God-seeking men, because that’s where accountability thrives.
I was extremely fortunate. I’ve never really had any “bros,” so I was kind of at a loss about who to approach and get real with. But, not long after I recognized my need for a solid male accountability partner, he strolled right into my life, and after much prayerful consideration, I knew he was it. God provided in a really big way and I’m still in awe of it. Yes, it was one of the more terrifying experiences of my life to sit down in his apartment and spill it for the first time, but it has led to so much blessing. We set up X3 Watch and started meeting weekly. I know that when he asks, “So, how’s it going?” he doesn’t mean “How are your classes?” or “How about this weather we’re having?” He means “How’s your purity been? Are you staying away from porn? Have you controlled your thoughts this week? Have you been in the Word? Is there anything I can pray with you about?”
He encourages, equips, teaches, and treats me as a fellow man of God, without judgment or condemnation. Even if he cannot fully relate, man to man, he better understands the challenges I am facing and that is invaluable. So, while finding accountability in female friends may seem to come more naturally or easily to some of us who are same sex attracted, I think it is worthwhile to pray for and seek a godly man to become accountable with.
Obviously, it’s not wise to pair off with a guy you are attracted to or who struggles with homosexuality too. Don’t place yourself in any unnecessary temptation. Define the relationship as a God-seeking venture; set it apart. Meet in public, maybe in a group setting if you think you may be tempted.
Perhaps most importantly, we need to remember the goal of accountability. It is not to conquer our sin and earn a spot in Heaven, or to make up for the wrong we’ve done. No. Christ conquered all sin on the cross- Only He can set us free from its destructive power and eternal consequence, and redeem us to the loving Creator. Our goal in accountability is to walk in that freedom and glorify God by doing so.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 reads “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up.” Getting accountable means admitting you’ve fallen, which can seem just as painful as the fall itself. But it also means you won’t be alone next time. We weren’t meant to do this alone. And thank God, we don’t have to.