Friday, February 03, 2006

"I want to be held accountable."

"Can I talk to you privately for a few minutes?" 'Carlos' inquired


We pulled up a couple of seats away from the other guys who were about to have a Bible study.

"I'm a Christian and I really want to start living my life for Christ. I was picked up for a parole violation. I'm tired of life behind bars. I've got a wife and a bunch of kids who need me. I keep falling back into old patterns when I'm on the outside. What I really need is accountability."

"Are you really serious about that?" I asked.

"Yes! I want to be held accountable, but I can't seem to find anybody who will do it. When I don't have accountability it's too easy for me to head down the wrong path. I don't mean to pass the blame on others. I can't fault everybody else for not being willing to hold me accountable. I just know I can't make it without accountability."

"Be careful what you ask for," I told him. "Accountability is a serious thing. But if you really want to be held accountable, I know of a great tool to do it. It's called a Life Transformation Group (LTG)."

In a LTG, two or three people of the same sex get together once a week. During the week, they all read the same passage of Scripture—for example, the book of Matthew. They also pray for unsaved friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc. During their weekly meeting, they confess sin to each other, pray for each other and share what God was showing them through the Scripture they read that week.

"We use LTG's as a means of accountability and spiritual growth in the church I pastor."

"Well...," Carlos began, "I have to tell you that the woman I'm living with is my fiancée, not my wife. We're planning on getting married in late spring."

"Why are you waiting so long?" I asked.

"Because technically I'm still married to another woman. She's gone on and had children with another man, but the divorce isn't final yet."

"Carlos, you can't live with your fiancée anymore. You have to move out."

"You know, I thought about not even telling you all this. But I knew I had to." He continued, "But if we're not doing anything, why do I have to move out? Where will I stay?"

"Well, first of all, you're still married. Your living with this other woman, even if you're not sexually intimate, is the 'appearance of evil.' It could easily become a stumbling block for a weaker Christian. Second, you're putting yourself into a situation of high temptation. Third, you need to think about your children. You need to do the right thing now so that when your son is sixteen and he wants to know why he can't have sex with his girlfriend, you'll have the moral authority to exhort him not to fall into sin."

"Wow, that's heavy, man."

"I don't say all this to condemn you, Carlos. You wanted to be held accountable. You have the opportunity to be responsible, make the right choices, and be an example for your children. Trust God that He will find you a suitable place to live. I'll pray with you for that."

"I hear what you're saying."

"Is your fiancée a Christian?" I asked.

"No, she's not. And if I move out, what will she think?"

"She'll either be convicted by your Godly example because you're taking your faith seriously, or she'll be absolutely turned off. If she's turned off to Jesus, do you really want to marry her?"

This was all very difficult for Carlos. He said he needed to go to his cell to think and pray. I went and gathered a small group of men for a Bible study.

After a while, Carlos sat down at the table and joined the Bible study. There were six of us gathered around. When Carlos sat down, he openly repented to another man at the table for a bad attitude he had had toward him. Right after that, he confessed to the group that he needed to move out of his house because he wasn't married to the woman he was living with. I was amazed at his honesty and vulnerability.

Pray that Carlos can follow through on what he knows is right to do. Pray for alternative housing for him. Pray for the salvation of his fiancée and his children.


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