Accountability can break destructive behaviours, says XXXChurch pastor
Being open and honest about our failings with a few people we trust could be the key to overcoming unhelpful and destructive behaviours and embrace positive ones, suggests Craig Gross.
At a time when Facebook is now cited in one in three divorces, politicians are embroiled in scandals, and celebrities are having very public meltdowns, the release of his new book this month by Thomas Nelson is timely.
In "Open", the XXXChurch.com co-founder argues that accountability is key and that sharing our secrets and being honest online and in real life will help us live a richer, more fulfilled and satisfied life.
The premise behind the book is that self-help has its limits and that sometimes we really do need the help of others to help us get better.
"Accountability isn't about embracing 'Big Brother'," he explains. "It's about seeking a holistic life, removing the boundaries of compartmentalisation, and engaging every part of your lifestyle with every available part of the world around you. I'm talking about building a deep relationship – a support system – with few people who can help you when you are drowning."
Gross has spent years helping people in the porn industry through XXXChurch.com but "Open" deals with various aspects of life where being honest is important. These include health and fitness, substance abuse, gambling and marriage.
He believes accountability not only helps people prevent certain behaviours or deal with the impulses behind them but it also forces them to examine why they feel the way we do.
It's also not enough to recognise that something is wrong. Telling others about it can be a strong incentive to stop temptation dead in its tracks.
"When you make yourself accountable to one or two or four people, forging a deep, ongoing relationship with them, you begin to alter your internal compass and provide yourself with deeper reasons for living the grand life you want to live instead of mediocre life that seems inevitable," Gross says.
"When temptation inevitably comes, you can withstand it more gracefully, knowing that your accountability partners will be asking you about it."
Gross wrote sympathetically on CNN's Belief blog this week about politician Anthony Weiner who has fallen from grace over illicit text messages sent to a 22-year-old woman. Gross believes accountability could help Weiner break free of his sex addiction.
"These are not the actions of a clown," he wrote. "This is not something to make fun of. This is a serious, family-wrecking, soul-crushing, career-destroying addiction.
"Here's what I would hope for Anthony Weiner: I would hope that he'd take himself out of the public eye, get back into counseling and put some concrete boundaries in place regarding his technology use.
"And most important, I want him to get accountable."