Insights on accountability

As our motives become purer—more noble, unselfish, and God-centered—we’re less inclined to say or do something offensive.

From an early age we learn that part of growing up involves being responsible for what we say and do. Society reinforces this concept through a complex structure that includes rewards and honors as well as discipline and punishment. Most people have said or done things they’ve regretted or wished they’d done differently, and oftentimes have suffered consequences such as humiliation, reprimands, or even incarceration. But even when people don’t face consequences and “get away with it,” do they really? 

The Bible reminds us: “It is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:11, 12). This and other passages suggest that the world’s systems for holding people accountable are neither comprehensive nor infallible, and that although society justly expects a certain level of responsibility from everyone, our true accountability is to God, divine Love and Truth. So the questions we might often ask ourselves are: “Is what I’m thinking/saying/doing honorable and pleasing in the sight of God?” and “Am I following the teachings and example of Christ Jesus, who glorified God in all he said and did?”

God, being infinite wisdom, already knows everything, as Mary Baker Eddy affirms in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “The Father in secret is unseen to the physical senses, but He knows all things and rewards according to motives, not according to speech” (p. 15). This seems to imply, then, that what’s most important is the intent of our heart.

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April 25, 2022

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