Character, Integrity, Accountability

Rod Handley is the Director of a ministry called “Character that Counts.” Listen to Rod talk about the three words he has chosen to drive his life and ministry.

I chose the words character, integrity, and accountability because I knew if I wanted to get serious with my walk with the Lord and be faithful to the call He had on my life, these were the three critical words that I personally needed. So these three words emerged out of my own life. I knew that character was about doing the right thing and about being the right person. It’s a choice of right actions, right reactions, and right responses. It’s made up of attributes that you want to be about, and, of course, some of these include love and peace, joy and diligence, determination and candor. There are close to 130 character words that we focus on, and the “doing” piece of these characteristics is good because we’ve got to be not only speaking the word, but living it out.

The word integrity is a subset of character that deals with who we are. It means to be whole and complete. The word comes from the Latin Intagratus, which means entireness and completeness, and the root word is in the word integer. I love that picture because I love math, and the term integer is a whole number or a complete number. What God is trying to do is make me whole and complete. Not just in what I do but in who I am. We are called by God to be integers, to be complete, but our enemy wants us to be a fraction. The enemy wants to steal, kill, and destroy, but God wants to bring us into completeness and wholeness. There is an internal battle that takes place, and every day I’m challenged, as all of us are, with opportunities to stray, wander, get off the path — to lose sight of God’s plan — so I fight every day to apply the doing of character and the being of integrity to fulfill the high calling and high responsibility that God has on my life. I’ll tell you first-hand, in my humanness, I can’t pull this off. As good as I want to be and as strong as I want to be, I know my history and my temptations and struggles.

This third word, accountability, is what will allow me to be that man of character and integrity. Accountability simply means reporting my life, explaining my life, and justifying my life. It’s painting an accurate picture of who I am and honestly giving a report to some trusted friends who will hold me to the fire, who will challenge me and walk with me to be the person I want to be. Accountability is the game-changer. It’s all about opening up your life, exposing your flaws, imperfections, and temptations in a safe place where you can be loved, affirmed, and encouraged. This has been the number one way that God has transformed my life. In fact, I shudder to think where I’d be today in my own journey with Christ without accountability. Accountability is being honest with God, honest with others, and honest with yourself, and the admission that I am a sinner and I need help is an important and practical take-away. So many moral failures and character crashes that I see are from people with no accountability in their lives — they have no one to point out their blind spots or ask them the hard questions or pray for them over an issue. You might think that accountability is like being trapped, but it’s not bondage. It is freedom. Some men think they can handle their own burdens and be a lone ranger. But, ironically, the Lone Ranger had a friend named Tonto. Even the Lone Ranger had a close and trusted friend. I hope we would all find that faithful friend who we could do life with, and scripture is clear that, “As iron sharpness iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their work. If one falls, the other can help him up, but pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up.” We need people in our lives. James 5:16 says, “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another.” Why do we do that? So that we will be healed. This is the value and importance and freedom that occurs when we embrace accountability.

Rod Handley is the President of Character that Counts. Rod has published several books that focus on helping young men and women grow in the areas of Chracter, Integrity, and Accountability. 

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