Accountability by Kenneth Boa

Leadership Qualities: Accountability
Dr. Kenneth Boa

Two men were fishing in a stream when they noticed that a nearby bridge was falling apart. Every time a vehicle would drive across it, another piece would fall and the entire bridge would shake dangerously. Finally, after a large truck passed over, the bridge completely fell apart in the middle. The two fishermen knew that if a car came around the bend, the driver would never know that the middle of the bridge was gone; the whole thing could come crashing down, damaging the vehicle and injuring the driver.

One of the men looked at his friend and said, "We've got to do something. What would be the 'Christian' thing to do?"

His friend thought for a moment and replied, "Build a hospital?"

It does seem that many in Christendom would rather build a hospital than put up a warning sign. We tend to deal with things after the fact instead of taking preventive action. We often allow a person to come to a very bad state before we get involved. Nowhere is this more clearly seen than in the absence of protective accountability alliances among leaders.

God told the prophet Jeremiah, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure" (Jeremiah 17:9). Our ability to embed ourselves within the impenetrable shell of rationalization, projection and denial is nothing short of amazing. Neil Plantinga writes:

We deny, suppress, or minimize what we know to be true. We assert, adorn, and elevate what we know to be false. We prettify ugly realities and sell ourselves the prettified versions. Thus a liar might transform "I tell a lot of lies to shore up my pride" to "Occasionally, I finesse the truth in order to spare other people's feelings." (1)

An entire field of social psychology - the study of "cognitive dissonance" - is based on our limitless ability to rationalize what we do and say. That being the case, we all need people who will help us protect ourselves from ourselves and the desires ...

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