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Today’s Truth

Faithful are the wounds of a friend.

Proverbs 27:6

Friend to Friend

A certain expert guide lived in the deserts of Arabia. He was known for his tracking skills. He never lost his way. The secret of his success could be found in the fact that he carried with him a homing pigeon that had a very fine cord attached to one of its legs. When he had doubts as to which path to take, he threw the bird into the air. The pigeon quickly strained at the cord to fly in the direction of home, leading the guide accurately to his goal. Because of this unique practice, he was known as “the dove man.”

We always need connections to those who will point us in the right direction. We will take the wrong path or make a wrong turn, and there will be times when we have no idea which way to go or how to get home. We must then turn to God and to those who hold us accountable.

Accountability is often seen as confining, a relationship straight jacket that limits freedom of expression and hinders those who “march to the beat of a different drummer.” Actually, the opposite is true. Accountability frees us to grow and change, and is an important part of every healthy relationship.

When I married into the Southerland family, I didn’t know that tent camping was part of the deal. But I loved Dan Southerland and he loved camping. So I decided I could learn to camp and maybe even enjoy it. My first trip with Dan’s family to Lake Greason in the foothills of the Ozarks was quite an experience. It did not take me long to learn the daily routine.

Each morning, Dan’s mom would prepare a huge breakfast after which the kids did dishes while mom changed into her swimsuit, donned her sunglasses, grabbed a towel, and headed for the lake. On the shore, she would grab an inner tube, position her towel in just the right spot over the tube, turn around, and sit down. She would then float blissfully for hours.

There was a slight problem with this free-floating plan.

Lake Greason had a current that carried Mom down the lake, around the bend and into the path of ski boats. Several times a day, someone would have to swim after her and pull her back to the safety of the shore. She always sweetly and profusely thanked her rescuer … and then went right back to floating.

Finally, one of the kids came up with a great idea. Get a rope! We grabbed a ski rope, tied one end to Mom’s inner tube and the other end to a wooden stake driven securely into the ground. She could then float until the rope ran out and someone “reeled her in.”

What a perfect picture of accountability – giving someone who loves you the permission to “reel you in” when they see you headed in a dangerous direction. When we willingly make ourselves accountable to others, we are creating a hedge of protection that ultimately yields boundaries, parameters, or behavioral lines that should not be crossed.

Honestly, most of us have experienced very little accountability in life because we don’t want to be submissive to anyone.

Submission is not a dirty word. We have abused the concept of submission. It was never intended to be demeaning. Submission is protection and an intentional willingness to consider first the desires and wishes of another before our own. Submission is a harnessed and controlled strength that is born out of obedience to God’s command.

Ephesians 5:21 “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

God places others in our lives to see things we cannot see, to encourage and build up, to correct, love and protect. Accountability is not a crutch, and submission is not a weakness.

Jesus submitted Himself to the will of His father. He willingly laid down His desires and dreams, His plans and hopes in total submission. Out of that absolute surrender came the most powerful life ever lived. When we willingly submit ourselves to God and choose to make ourselves accountable to others, we will experience a freedom and power we have never known before. 

Let’s Pray

Father, I come to You today, submitting myself to You. Thank You for the protection, direction and power that comes from that submission. Forgive me when I have stood in silence while someone I loved made dangerous decisions. Give me the courage to confront in love. Give me the wisdom to receive correction and to be accountable to others. Thank You for Your love that never condemns but always stands ready to keep me from making mistakes. And when I do fall, thank You for being there to pick me up and walk with me.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen. 

Now It’s Your Turn

Read and think about Proverbs 27:6 “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” What does this verse mean to you? How does it relate to accountability? What one change do you need to make in your life so that you can experience the hedge of protection accountability offers.

More from the Girlfriends

Friendship is the springboard to every other love and the foundation for every healthy relationship. Helen Keller once said, “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” Friends make life a lot more fun and a lot more rewarding. Yet, many of us struggle to find true friendship and don’t know what it means to be a real friend. I Need a Friend is a six-week-study that offers nine steps we can take to experience the vibrant relationships for which we were created. Check it out!

Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website and connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.

5 Responses to “The Hedge of Accountability”

  1. I have been receiving your articles for quite a while. but recently I have been reading them dedicatedly. Thank you for this channel of expression! Today’s devotional really touched me and I just want to express what Proverbs 27: 6 means to me.

    For me, that scripture means that the wounds inflicted by a friend are borne out of their obligations to watch out for someone, especially where the person in question (i.e. the one that was hurt) has totally lost guard. These wounds are faithful because they emanated from a purposeful thought, some inclination that triggered the expression of the friend’s obligations – usually heartfelt, from a relationship focus. Applying this scripture to myself, I’d say if for any reason I feel hurt by a friend’s action(s) towards challenging a norm that is not to my advantage, I’m assured that the friend acted in my interest, having known my strengths and weaknesses. Frankly, I loved the use of the word ‘wounds’ in the verse, because these ‘wounds’ attack one’s pride – as the occur during moments of truth that make people to reckon with the facts on ground (relating to strengths or weaknesses). A true friend will not cover your misdemeanour, but would faithfully address it, so you can do something to mend that area of your life. Whereas, the kisses of the enemy will encourage you to continue on the path of destruction!

    One change I’d like to make is my disposition to timeliness – I tend to be late with things and/or procrastinate. I know the Holy Spirit is helping me – as much as I yield. I ask for more grace to surrender all, each and every day.

  2. Yvonne says:

    Mary, thank you for this devotional. I had to read and re-read this verse to fully understand what it meant. I even looked it up in my Application Bible, and thankfully there was an application to this particular verse.

    I have wonderful friends who have and do hold be accountable. Years ago a very good friend, who has since gone to be with the Lord, told me something that was VERY hard to hear. If I hadn’t heeded her warning, I know for a fact I would not be alive today!

    Praise God for people who love you enough to speak truth into your life.

    Blessings, Yvonne

  3. Rebecca Jones says:

    I do wish people understood submission better, especially to God.

  4. Gwennon R. says:

    This was such a great post, Mary. I love your floating example. We all need friends to reel us back in, and these days I don’t keep a friend long if she isn’t someone I can trust to tell me the truth–and to want to hear it when she needs it, too.

    Thank you for your ministry of writing. It blesses many people. Often I mean to say thank you then get distracted and move on before remembering to do so. So I am kind of saying thanks for a lot of “back issues”. : )

    Hugs and blessings to you!

    “Gwennon”

  5. Kimberly says:

    Hello Mary,
    And thank you so much for sharing this devotional and your personal experience . I have heard over and over the saying..God is always on time and although its been proven to me time and time again, still when something happens that makes me say…hummmmm. I still stop and am in AWWWW at how glorious the feeling when I know that God really is the force of order and time in my life and all I can really do is stay alert and ready…So anyway, I have just recently recommitted my life to Christ and a very special woman was placed on my path. This is a woman with great God given knowledge and grace and I can not put into words the timing and all the other events that took place to bring this woman of God and myself together. I said the above prayer , I asked Jesus to please help me to remember the feeling I had when this was fresh and new and i keep it as such””” Fresh & New”””” To help me be and stay obedient. To be submissive to God and Danielle. When the teacher is ready the student will appear!!

    Thank you
    Mary

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