Fewer Accountability Partners, More Compassion Bearers
By the time you read this, I will have boarded a plane in Orlando and flown to Ohio to participate as an “Expert on Failure” in the Epic Fail Pastor’s Conference. It’s a shame, I just had new business cards printed up and I didn’t know this was going to be my designation.
I am excited about this opportunity to speak into the lives of pastors who have given their blood, sweat, and tears and have experiences some sort of failure. It’s possible that many of them are confronting brokenness for the first time and a large part of the struggle is the feelings of isolation and disconnection that come along as part of the bargain. For many, it may move beyond feelings and be the reality. Failure is a lonely road.
Cheerleaders will cheer. But when there is nothing to cheer about, they go find someone else to cheer for. When people have a vested interest in your success, failure brings scorn and abandonment. Investing time in more productive relationships. Performance matters.
That is why I propose we need fewer accountability partners. Accountability has to do with behavior. Checking what is on the outside. Cheering when things go well and telling you to not do the things you know you should not be doing when things go poorly. Such a system breeds shame and deceit to avoid shame. Brene Brown notes often that shame does not provide motivation to change behavior.
What we need more of, and what I expect the pastors at the conference I’m speaking at are searching for, is compassion. Someone to walk hand in hand with during the low worst times. Someone to listen, someone who will understand, someone who can say “me too” when you reveal the worst of your false self.
We all share brokenness and speaking about it, being open about it with appropriate people builds interconnectedness. There is no longer condemnation in Christ Jesus. Instead, He stands before the Father as our high priest, tempted in every way, and says “me too”. If that is the example of Christ, then that should be our role toward one another.
In your life, do you have compassion bearers?