Since we’re talking about openness, let me start with a confession. I’m 58 pounds overweight—that’s the difference in my weight and end range on the doctor’s chart of healthy weight for my height. On any given day, I might not feel that much overweight—depending largely on what I’m wearing. If I’ve squeezed into something I really should have shelved 20 pounds ago, I feel pretty lumpy. But if I’m wearing loose-fitting clothes, I feel light on my feet. On these days, I see myself in the mirror, and even though I know what I weigh, I feel no conviction about being overweight. My reflection agrees with me and we are content. I run my errands, head held high. That’s just life.
Life with an accountability partner is when you arrive home, walk through the door and your daughter cringes and asks, “Did you go out like that?”
“Yes, why do you ask?”
“Well, that dress looks a little like a circus tent, and well, it makes you look… big-ger.”
All of the sudden, the reality of my weight can’t be covered up anymore. And worse (or better, actually), I can’t ever wear that dress again without consciously deciding to look like a circus tent.
Sin is a lot like my extra pounds. I may pray, “Search me, Father, know my heart, show me what I need to change” (Ps. 139:23-24), simultaneously reflecting on myself, thinking, That’s not so bad. Really, until you have someone else point out the obvious to you, it’s pretty easy to delude yourself.
A couple of weeks ago, I accused my husband of misplacing the sunscreen with the crowning invective. “One of the two of us has a problem with organization and it’s not me!” I said. As the words were coming out of my mouth, I intuitively knew I would be eating them soon. Sure enough, 15 minutes later, he found the sunscreen in a shopping bag on the top shelf of the guest closet, and guess who had put it there.
“Apologize!” flashed through my mind. But just having spent three hours cleaning out his desk to find nothing less than four nail clippers, three thermometers, four pairs of scissors—all items which I seem to have trouble finding when I need them—not to mention about 20 keys to who knows what and 40-some unmarked DVDs, I retorted internally, “I stand by that remark.”
You see, God was trying to convict me, but I brushed him off. Incredibly foolish, arrogant and disrespectful, but pretty easy to do, nonetheless, and no, I didn’t feel bad about it.
Later that day, I attended my accountability group. The Holy Spirit brought the conversation around so I had a chance to confess my unbridled tongue to my sisters. Naturally, one of them responded, “Did you apologize?”
“No!” I said. Then softening, “Though I probably should have.” That’s all it took—an objective observation, delivered in love, for me to see through the delusion and realize my offense to God… and man.
Being in an effective accountability group clears away the smoke in mirrors. Someone has seen through the delusion and now there’s no more denying it ourselves. Now it’s time to confess and move closer to God.
Being open brings you to this place.
Ironically, Craig has a new book coming out entitled Open. If you would like to purchase the book click here. If you’d like to read more about the book click here and if you’d like to check out a trailer for the book click here. Yes, lots of ways to get in on being more “open”. Here’s hoping that you’ll take advantage of at least one or two!