I was mean to a friend in Bible study. We were studying Romans and she was making a misinformed point about the Abrahamic covenant, and I let her know in no uncertain terms that she was wrong. I quoted verses from Genesis and some of the Prophets, and I threw out definitions of Hebrew and Greek words for good measure, just to hammer home the point that I was right and she was wrong. And I lost the argument at the exact moment my friend shut up and curled herself into the corner of her couch, like a dog who couldn’t take being smacked with the newspaper anymore.
My best friend, who is also in Bible study and who sat nearby as I reduced our friend to a smaller version of herself, was quick to hold me accountable that night. She made me get into her car and talk long after the rest of our Bible study members had gone home. She told me in no uncertain terms that I was a jerk and she was baffled that I couldn’t see how I was hurting our friend. She said she was disappointed in me because I had acted so unkindly. She told me we had worked really hard to create a sisterhood in that Bible study, and that it was supposed to be a safe place where we could ask questions and be wrong every once in awhile. She said she loved me for my study of the Bible and the Greek and Hebrew, but she said that if I didn’t learn to do a better job of teaching what I was learning, I was going to undo all that we had built together. And then she reached over and laid her hand on my shoulder and said she loved me, and then she prayed that I would soften and be less of a jerk moving forward so that the Jesus in me and in what I was learning could really shine.
Whenever anyone wants to talk about accountability, this is the story I want to tell. I want to talk about my friend lovingly telling me that I wasn’t being my best self because I wasn’t looking like Jesus…
There’s a couple hundred more words to this post that you’re going to have to go to Off the Page to read the rest.
I’m writing a new series there this month – to be posted every Monday, though I’ll likely forget to link to here every Monday. Case in point – I’m linking the first piece now, and it’s Friday. Oops!
This is a series I particularly love because my publishing team said, “Hey, we think you should be our person to write about accountability. We know it’s a big topic with a lot of controversial turns it could take, so uh…good luck.” And after much prayer and stillness, I think I have. Plus, it was fun.
As I always am, I’m grateful for all of you who take the time to read what I write, whether here or for Off the Page. You are good friends!