Think about it. In recent years it’s become very front-of-mind to have accountability in the area of our lives generally described as sexual integrity. We encourage men and women alike to find like-minded folks to support them as they try to align this area of their life with God’s standard. We invite these trusted people to have unfettered access (if we’re being honest) into our lives to make certain that we cannot keep sexual sin hidden… sin such as porn, affairs, sex outside of marriage, visits to strip clubs, prostitutes, chatrooms, hookup apps, dating sites, etc., even mentally lusting after those who are not our spouse.
That kind of accountability seems almost insane to one who has not gone through the experience of a self-motivated “dying to self” and deciding that we desire God more than we love our sin and pride, or alternatively, of being caught out by a loved one or leader and given a choice between being accountable or facing consequences we cannot bear to face.
Yet, even to those of us who are striving for accountability in this area, many of us would balk far more strongly if someone were to suggest that we asked ourselves if we needed to be Financially Accountable. We’d be willing to let others in to our sanctum sanctorum of deepest inner secrets of our sexual thought-lives, computer usage, and dating activities, but the very idea of letting another like-minded brother or sister see what choices we have been making with our money would be almost cripplingly unthinkable. We’d take up arms and fight; Yes,fight to the point of destroying friendship and fellowship if anyone were to dare suggest that we might be hiding a dirty-little-financial-secret; a little expenditure here, a ‘just for emergencies’ maxed-out credit card there…
Why? I don’t know why for each person, but there is one reason I think would be fairly common, that reason being that it’s not just that we don’t want others judging our financial honesty, but that financial honesty would shine a revealing light on a whole host of things in our lives that we are dishonest about, things that we are ashamed of and want kept secret.
In some ways it might be even harder for those of us who have sought accountability in the area of sexual integrity because we have, in our hearts, incorrectly begun to feel that we’re really upstanding folks. We’ve exposed the dirtiest, darkest, most shameful, most hidden parts of ourselves and let the light of honesty shine into the darkest corners and most hidden niches. We might think ourselves justified in keeping this other area of our life in shadow behind locked doors. We might be loathe to admit, even to ourselves that we might find ourselves far and away more greatly ashamed of our little financial dalliances than ever we were about an occasional look at a skin mag, viewing an imagination-inspiring Hollywood movie, hanging out on dating sites where the conversation can become… stimulating, a Google image search with Safe-Search features disabled, or that lingering look we take each time we pass the desk of the secretary at work who is completely unaware of just what we can see when standing while she’s sitting.
The bible tells us that even our best is as filthy rags, I would think most especially if our best is helping us give ourselves a pass somewhere else. Isaiah 64:5–8 NASB
Who remembers You in Your ways.
Behold, You were angry, for we sinned,
We continued in them a long time;
And shall we be saved?
6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
And all of us wither like a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
7 There is no one who calls on Your name,
Who arouses himself to take hold of You;
For You have hidden Your face from us
And have delivered us into the power of our iniquities.
8 But now, O Lord, You are our Father,
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all of us are the work of Your hand.
Has something very helpful to the Christian walk perhaps been misused and caused great harm for some in this area? How many of us Christians would be inclined to wave our Financial Peace University graduation certificates (metaphorically speaking) to quell any questions others who care about us might have for us. We’d never wave our actual budget. I know I’ve waved my certificate a time or two when uncomfortable scrutiny has fallen upon me. Heaven forbid that we wave our “I Tithed” sticker around like we’ve just left the voting polls to rebuff inquiry into this area, because, “If I’ve tithed, I must have my financial house and heart in order.” I’ve been amused at the social meme lately of completely replacing rhetoric with the antithesis of rhetoric; the “Because Science!” or “Because Racist!” argument [air quotes], however, it’s not so amusing when I realize that I might have myself used the “Because FPU!” or “Because Tithe!” arguments to stomp on honest inquiry.
I think in a lot of ways, our hearts and priorities may far more clearly be reflected in our bank statements than our CovenantEyes or X3Watch accountability reports.
I guess this area for some of us may be one more example of Col. Jimmie Coy’s ABoBs (A Bowl of Beans one is willing to purchase in exchange for their eternal spiritual birthright).