FOUR BARRIERS TO EFFECTIVE ACCOUNTABLITY GROUPS
1. FEAR OF BEING CONTROLLED
Nothing destroys a friendship faster than a tendency to control. And nothing undermines accountability among men more than the presence of a controlling individual. Here are some tips to avoid being a controlling individual.
– Be cautious with criticism. A parent who constantly criticizes a child is trying to control their behavior. The same is true of a friend. Try to affirm more than criticize.
– Encourage your friends to be themselves. Instead of trying to fit them into a mold, appreciate their uniqueness. The strongest teams are made up of men with different talents.
– Allow for changes in the relationship. Can your friendship endure a shift in the “balance of power”?
2. FEAR OF REJECTION
Several years ago I was having a severe struggle that triggered both anger and depression. After work, I felt like kicking my dogs and withdrawing from my wife. Instead, I watched TV. My group knew something was wrong, but I was reluctant to tell them. Even though I knew better, I feared they would reject me. When I had nearly reached rock bottom, a close buddy in my group visited me. As we talked, I poured out my guts. He listened and assured me of his love and support. He helped me see things were not as bad as I feared and challenged me to open up with the others.
Every man fears rejection. That is why as soon as we establish an accountability relationship, we fear we will be rejected for exposing our weaknesses. However, it may surprise you to discover that there is nothing you can do to endear yourself to others more than being vulnerable. Not only will your self-disclosure draw others to you, it will create the kind of environment where they will feel free to remove their masks.
Jesus did this. He prayed with His disciples, walked with them, ate with them, resolved their arguments and cried with them so they could see inside of Him.
3. FEAR OF EXPOSURE
It is one thing to open up with a buddy about my struggles, but I do not want them announced on the evening news. Every men’s group I have ever been a part of has made it a fundamental rule that what is shared with the group goes no further. That means it is not shared with our wives or other friends. It stays in the group. The best way to be a trusted friend is to keep a confidence and not even let others know we are doing so.
4. FEAR OF CHANGE
As men, we like to fix things. In light of this, it is interesting that we can so diligently put off “fixing” ourselves. Problems in the way we think and act get “fixed” as a result of years of hard work and strong relationships. They get fixed because men take up their crosses and follow Jesus. They decide becoming like Him is the most important thing in life. And if we want to be like Jesus, we have to allow His Spirit to change us.