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How Christian Friends Benefit From Accountability

MsDora, former teacher and Certified Christian Counselor shares tips for smooth relationships with friends and encounters with strangers.

Accountability between friends, especially friends who adhere to the Bible principles listed below, provides an atmosphere of trust, support and reliability. It facilitates opportunities for them to share facts about their good deeds or misdeeds, to confess their struggles which resulted in success or in surrender. No one in the group has to celebrate or grieve alone. They help each other survive and grow.

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Sharing does not mean that the friends surrender control of their lives; it opens them up to receive help in taking control. It does not take away individual responsibility; it creates a system in which they give and receive support.

Accountability can result in maximum benefits for friends whose goals may not be popular with the other people around them. Take the following groups for example.

  • friends committed to a moral lifestyle;
  • friends trying to follow through with their plans for regular exercise, writing a book, starting a business;
  • friends struggling to overcome bad habits like untidiness, procrastination, gluttony;
  • friends involved in a voluntary service project.

Accountability between such groups of friends will provide community support enough to help them resist community pressure. Here are six suggestions which can help to make it work.

1. Select An Accountability Circle

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. . . Three are even better. (Ecclesiastes 4: 9, 12)

You do not need all the people you call friends in your accountability circle. Choose two or three who meet the following requirements:

  • Respect you for who you are
  • Have similar beliefs in the area(s) in which you need support
  • Have proven trustworthy and confidential
  • Share long-term interest in a supportive friendship

These are the friends who share your passion for what interests you. You enjoy your conversations with them.

2. Chat Regularly

Photo by Peter Swain

Photo by Peter Swain

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another. (Hebrews 10:25)

Accountability between friends requires constant, regular communication. Thanks to the possibilities of social media, this is not difficult to achieve even if friends are separated by long distances.

You need to chat (by phone, text, e-mail, e-chat etc.) at least daily, to make sure that each person is following the plan. It is easy for someone to detour from the agenda because he or she is tired, upset, confused or even excited over some good news. Contact with another friend helps the distracted person to reset. It also decreases the chances for misdeed and neglect as mentioned previously.

It is also recommended that friends meet, if possible. Friends who spend time together become a meaningful part of each other’s lives.1

3. Be Honest

An honest answer is like a kiss of friendship. (Proverbs 24:26)

The discussion to be accountable should include the need for friends to be open concerning the matters in which they need support. To get to the right solution, friends need to know the situation as accurately as possible.

The discussion should also include permission to ask tough questions and the right to receive honest answers, which reveal—not cover up—pertinent information. In addition to providing accountability for the rest of the group; the person answering the question is motivated by himself voice the truth.

It is important for friends to be trustworthy, so that no one is afraid to be vulnerable. The whole purpose of accountability is to deal with weaknesses so they become strengths.

4. Refuse To Judge

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Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:37)

If one friend reveals that he got himself into trouble, it is not the duty of the other friends to judge him, worse yet to condemn him. Observations like the following are inappropriate:

  • Are you sure you’re not reaping what you sowed?
  • After all, you may not be as smart as you think.

Even though the observer may be right, it makes the one with the problem uncomfortable; and more unwilling to receive help. Accountability between friends requires a family-like atmosphere filled with love and forgiveness. Opinions can be replaced with kind thoughts like:

  • You’re only human; we all make mistakes.
  • Let’s put our heads together on this one.

It may be discouraging when a friend disappoints you by acting foolishly, but these are situations which test the friendship. Besides, it is true; we all make mistakes—and we all need the support of friends.

5. Offer And Accept Counsel

The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. (Proverbs 27:9)

In everyday conversations, friends offer and accept counsel in matters like what is appropriate to wear, what invitations to accept, what foods are best to avoid, or even on life-changing issues. Accountability between friends requires that each one offers whatever wisdom he or she has.

However, complicated matters may arise which call for more effort than straight talk. The following suggestions can provide friendly counsel without making the provider sound like a wise guy counseling the unwise:

  • Share personal stories—your struggle and what worked for you; have other friends share. Allow the friend seeking help to make his or her own decision.
  • Suggest a book, or video sermon, or movie which deals with similar problems and solutions.
  • Recommend professional counseling.or an appropriate support group.
  • Offer support for whatever decision the friend makes.

When it is your turn to accept guidance, be gracious. Listen, accept appreciation, weigh the advice and let the group know what you decide. Ask support for your decision.

6. Pray For Each Other

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. (James 5:16 KJV 2000)

Friends who help friends shoulder their responsibilities will find reason to pray for each other. They all have the same needs in the interest of their friendship: wisdom in interpersonal skills, capacity to love and forgive, humility of spirit.

“If ever love reaches its best and purest, it ought to be when we are standing before God.3” When one friend enters the throne room of God, he takes the others and requests the same blessings and successes for all.

Friends with whom you share accountability become a great asset to your success. At your moment of weakness, they become your strength. You also learn to be strong for them, and eventually all become stronger.

References

1. Gannon Ph.D., Michelle, Do You Make Time for Friends (1/17/2011)

2. Miller, J. R., The Hidden Life Grace Gems (1895)

Scripture references are from the New Living Translation, unless otherwise noted.

© 2014 Dora Weithers

Comments

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 03, 2019:

Lauren, thanks for sharing. You're blessed to have a trio of good friends.

Lauren on October 02, 2019:

I know that's true I've got a Christian friend named Kendra she is always there for me she never lets me down she's so funny I've got a friend named Natalie she's always there for me never let me down she's also very funny and is goofy Roger is Catholic just like Natalie he's so sweet he's goofy and funny also he has almost the same personality I do they are all great friends

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 10, 2014:

Ologsinquito, thank you for making that observation. God bless you, too.

ologsinquito from USA on August 10, 2014:

I like how your advice on relationships is always sprinkled with kindness. God bless you!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 16, 2014:

Marie, thank you for your comment. Hope we can be good HP friends.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 16, 2014:

Ologsinquito, good friends are worth keeping. Glad you appreciate the advice.

Marie Hurt from New Orleans, LA on May 16, 2014:

This is a very useful article on how to be a good friend. Many people don't know how to be a good friend. Voted up and useful.

ologsinquito from USA on May 16, 2014:

This is wonderful advice for remaining friends. Voted up and shared.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on March 17, 2014:

RTalloni, that verse about iron sharpening iron came to my mind while preparing the article. Your observations are very helpful. Thank you.

RTalloni on March 17, 2014:

Accountability partners can be vital to successfully accomplishing goals and/or tasks, so this hub offers some helpful insight. This may be why fitness club memberships are so popular. People instinctively know that accountability is useful! This hub also caused me to think about how the Bible's general wisdom benefits all of society, not just Christians. As iron sharpens iron, we gain wisdom for working, living, and even playing when we rub shoulders with those who are disciplined, determined, and faithful to their duties. Thanks for the chance to consider these thoughts today.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on March 02, 2014:

Ron, thank you for sharing your very important observation.

Ronald E Franklin from Mechanicsburg, PA on March 02, 2014:

Great hub. Accountability is a necessary ingredient for growth. But for many of us it draws us way out of our comfort zones. Still, we need it!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 27, 2014:

Denise, talking everyday is suggested for a friend with whom you share accountability. Your husband probably fills that gap now, so don't worry ahead. Thank you for your input.

Denise W Anderson from Bismarck, North Dakota on February 27, 2014:

I haven't had a friend that I have communicated with daily since I was in high school! Other than my husband, there is no one. I suppose if something happened to my husband, there would really be a hole in my life! We have moved around enough, that I really don't have any close friends. It would take some effort to make that change!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 26, 2014:

EP, thank you for your happy comment. I appreciate you.

Elizabeth Parker from Las Vegas, NV on February 26, 2014:

Important message here. Accountability between friends is so important. If you can't trust your friends, who can you trust? I enjoyed this hub.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 26, 2014:

Titi, your statements make a good summary for the article. Thank you very much.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 26, 2014:

Word, thank you for mentioning praying 'with' each other as well as praying 'for' each other. Good point!

titi6601 on February 26, 2014:

Good friends are hard to find. It also takes effort to keep the friendship going.

Al Wordlaw from Chicago on February 25, 2014:

Hi MsDora, this was great. I like praying for each other. It's good to pray with each other as well. True friendship is such a beautiful thing. No one should ever take advantage of a friend. I thank God for my friendships. Friendship is one of the most valuable relationships that a person can have. Thank you for bringing us such a meaningful hub today.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 25, 2014:

Thanks, mts. I appreciate your feedback.

mts1098 on February 25, 2014:

this is a great checklist to measure friendship and I agree with all the points especially when you have these friends and both parties share the same checklist even though the lists were never discussed among the circles. great article...voted awesome...cheers

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 25, 2014:

Michael, thanks for your kind comment and your input on the importance of accountability. Sure, the presence of God's Holy Spirit is always available to help.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 25, 2014:

Jackie, thank you for your input. The older we get, the more we understand the value of friendship.

Michael-Milec on February 24, 2014:

Hello MsDora.

What a fortunate audience to grab this compass article for a lifestyle- a free gift from you, living in real-ideal world. Sigh. Even having God in midst of it. HalleluYAH. . . Just slightly above another kind of "real world" by 'grand old lady' apparently in which " better two people than one," - one is already missing. Very similar my life's experience , more often alone with my Jesus. . . When and where creating Accountability Between Friends is simply uneven territory. How did we survived ?- the only choice left is practicing compatibility constantly being led by the ever-present Holy Spirit , the God Almighty.

Voted useful, awesome ,interesting.

Peace with us.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on February 24, 2014:

Yes, Dora surely we are all smart enough by now to not cast the first stone and wrong is wrong. Friends mean so much more that understand that. Important message. ^

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 24, 2014:

Mona (I hope it's all right to use your name), you may have family members who fit that role, or perhaps you do well without it. Yea, people are different. Thank you for sharing.

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on February 24, 2014:

This sounds like a wonderful idea, but I'm wondering if I have a friend who would be willing to go through this with me, that I am really close to. My friends are very different individuals, and adding to the problem is that I would not want to be accountable to a friend. But it's a nice idea, Ms. Dora. Some churches have this accountability thing, but I don't think I'd fit there, either. Maybe God will help me find the right accountability friend someday in the future.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 24, 2014:

Still, all the best, Manatita!

manatita44 from london on February 24, 2014:

I am a nurse, my sweet. They are my professional body. Nothing's wrong.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 24, 2014:

Sheila, thank God for accountability between friends! I can relate to friends correcting me. Thanks for your input.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 24, 2014:

Manatita, good to hear from you. All the best with whatever is going with you and Council. Thanks for your love.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 24, 2014:

Thank you Doc. I can never read too much about friendship. looking forward to your articles on the subject.

sheilamyers on February 24, 2014:

Awesome hub! We do all need at least one person in our life who we can trust to hold us accountable for our actions. I really believe there have been times in my life if my friends wouldn't have mentioned my errors and gently corrected me, I may have ended up being a very nasty person. Those same friends are still with me and we still help guide each other.

manatita44 from london on February 24, 2014:

Accountability: A big one for me and the Nursing And Midwifery Council in England And Wales, and I'm sure a big one before our Friend upstairs.

Some more lovely virtues: openness, prayer ....

Continue ... much love.

Sallie B Middlebrook PhD from Texas, USA on February 24, 2014:

Another fine Hub MsDora. You inspire me to write! Friendship is one of my favorite topics. It's such an important part of life, and knowing how to be a friend, as well as how to have a friend, is very important. Most of my truest friendships have happened without any real effort on my part. I find that if I have to work "too hard" at it, something's usually not quite right. For me, when it's a good friendship "fit," it just works out because both parties are sincere, and both realize it's a good fit in terms of having the right things in common for friendship to flourish and thrive.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 24, 2014:

Flourish, thanks for that information. I certainly have to think that through.

FlourishAnyway from USA on February 24, 2014:

Great tips. I particularly like your recommendation to choose your friendships wisely. I have heard that you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with. It sure makes you think.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 24, 2014:

Eric, I love your statement. I wish it were a part of my article.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 24, 2014:

Bill, you're very kind. Thank you.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on February 24, 2014:

Wonderful Dora, just wonderful. I have never seen a problem or an illness that was not in some measure relieved by friends.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 24, 2014:

Interesting subject and great suggestions on your part. This should be required reading for everyone. Well done, Dora!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 24, 2014:

Faith, that's the idea. Friends encourage as well as reprove. Accountability gives permission to do that.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 24, 2014:

Devika, thank you for your input. There is no real friendship without trust.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 24, 2014:

Purpose Embraced, you cite the example of a very great friendship. Thank you.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 24, 2014:

Frank, thank you for your kind comment. I love chatting too.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 24, 2014:

Jodah,thank you for your support. Glad you like the article.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on February 24, 2014:

Awesome article, MsDora. I think it is so important to hold each other accountable, as what are friends for! If I were about to go and do something stupid that would wind up harming me or my family, I should would appreciate my friends telling me that is a stupid idea before I did it and talk some sense into me.

Up and more and sharing.

Have a great week,

Faith Reaper

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 24, 2014:

If friends are trustworthy they are worth having in your life. It is better to share you life with someone who is not going to broadcast your stories to a gossip room. Great hub and well pointed out

Yvette Stupart PhD from Jamaica on February 24, 2014:

Thanks MsDora for a great article on friendship. I'm reminded of the friendship between David and Jonathan in the Bible. In face of Saul's plot to kill David, his life was spare because of true friendship.

It's really a great idea for friends to pray for each other.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on February 24, 2014:

Msdora this is a good hub... the chatting regular is good sound advice the entire hub is worth the read bless you

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on February 23, 2014:

Very good advise here MsDora, and a fine hub. real friends are so important and you need to be able to trust each other be non-judgemental, pray for each other and support them in difficult times etc. Voted up.