They do not want accountability.
But, by the grace of God they should have it.
We need to quit thinking that grace and mercy mean covering up or overlooking…and see the true biblical grace and mercy that leads us to Christ.
Newton Knew Grace
It was “grace that first taught my heart to fear…” John Newton wrote this wonderful line (Amazing Grace) following his conversion from being a slave ship captain to Christianity. Newton came to understand his destitution and depravity. He understood that it was grace that showed him he had something to fear in this life: God almighty.
We consider it grace when a parent does not allow a child to do something dangerous. We consider it grace when we are turned from life-killing sin.
Rescue those who are being taken away to death;
hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,”
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it,
and will he not repay man according to his work? [Proverbs 24:11-12 (ESV)]
This is grace. Not allowing a toxic leader to continue to abuse others. Not only is he hurting and traumatizing others, he is hurting and traumatizing himself. When he is confronted and held accountable for his sins and thereby rescued from being taken away to death, it is grace. It is this grace for which the writer of this proverb says we are responsible.
So, it is not bitterness or anger or get-evenness that is necessarily the motive behind seeking accountability for those who abuse authority like Hybels and Driscoll as many in the church think. It is grace. The grace of accountability is the kindness of God that can lead to repentance [Romans 2:4]
Swine Crush the Pearls
But, remember that a truly abusive individual – one who is thoroughly lacking in humility – will rarely respond well to accountability. Though it be the grace of accountability you offer him, he may continue to feed upon the sheep as Jude 12 puts it.
Or, put in the Matthew 7 context, he will crush the pearls you cast before him [Matthew 7:6]. The Good News, or “pearls,” can be cast before the pigs so they have good food, but it is an expensive treat that they may not appreciate. And, not only will they fail to recognize the gift given, they will actually trample the Good News into the mud.
And turn to eat you alive.
Consider the Pope’s, Driscoll’s and Hybel’s response to being confronted. I don’t know anything. It was their fault. They just don’t understand. They will blame and deny [Hybels @ Willow Creek]. Move on to another church [Driscoll @ Mars Hill]. Or refuse to comment.
The pope did not deny it, but sidestepped the questions by insisting he would not dignify them with a response. [NY Times]
We might be motivated by bitterness. We may go on the attack like a swine. We need to question our motives and be careful of our tack…then seek their accountability. But, remember it is God who ultimately calls them to accountability.
If they are unrepentant, they are meant for destruction [Philippians 3:19]. Their appetite is for power and control and you cannot change it. It is ultimately not in your hands. God calls his people to call for accountability. But, He does not call us to change people. He does not call us to change other’s hearts. He does the changing.
In the end pigs will be slaughtered if God does not open their hearts and eyes to the grace (pearls) being offered that they might respond in repentance. God will bring justice. He may bring accountability in this life.
But, we are absolutely assured he will bring accountability in the next.