In Bob Goff’s book, Love Does, he makes the case that the traditional accountability partner deal doesn’t work. We lie to others and deceive ourselves, especially when we’re ashamed. We can only hold each other accountable for what we’re willing to share. And the more distant the friendship, the easier it is to be less than forthcoming about our temptations and failures.
Goff’s point is that if we engage in a transparent, vulnerable, high-trust relationship, there’s a better chance we’ll open up with each other about our struggles. And opening up is most of the battle. It’s how isolation ends, and true friendship begins.
Nate Larkin is the go-to guy in Nashville when it comes to sexual temptation and addiction. He mentors hundreds of men who struggle with sexual integrity. I asked Nate, “How in the world do you help all these guys with their junk?” He said . . .
“When they call, I ask them three questions . . .
What are you thinking?
What are you doing?
What are you thinking about doing?”
If they’re thinking evil thoughts or visualizing sinful stuff, a quick call to someone who knows you and your story may be all it takes to get back on track.
If you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing, a true friend has the moral authority to say “stop it” and be heard. A trustworthy friend is the only person we’ll call when we’re doing something we shouldn’t be doing. When the Holy Spirit pings our conscience and says “whoa.”
And when we get that twinge from thinking about doing something we shouldn’t, we’re much more likely to control ourselves if we stop and invite that trusted friend into our thinking. He’ll know what to say and how to say it so you can hear yourself and know to do the right thing.
“Spiritual battles are won or lost at the threshold of the mind,” teaches Charles Stanley. When you turn away from things that can hurt you, your marriage, your family, your business, and your church, you’re doing what Jesus did. You’re resisting temptation.
Calling on Jesus is the quickest, most direct way out of temptation. But reaching out to a friend who knows your story . . . your weak spots . . . your ‘last 10 percent’ is a close second.
And remember Nate’s three questions work for self-disclosure too. Make that call to your trusted friend and confess, “Here’s what I’m thinking.” “Here’s what I’m doing.” “Here’s what I’m thinking about doing.” Shining the light of Truth forces the darkness of evil to flee.
Be the flashlight for your trusted friend. And don’t hesitate to call and ask for his flashlight when you’re in the dark.
Scripture: One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)