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This letter’s going to be short.

I’ve been busy in many ways over the past 2 weeks. Lisa’s been in Alabama taking care of her brother following his open-heart surgery. She returns tonight. I can’t wait!

Today I want to write about something that TLS values very much. I coined this phrase many years ago when I was facilitating community at the last local church I pastored. It’s this:

“Authenticity with Accountability”

I observed and therefore came to the conclusion this is a healthy way for relationships, and therefore communities, to function.

We all love TLS because, as many say, it is one of the only places we feel we can be truly authentic. We can be ourselves. We can express our deepest selves without being condemned or corrected. Authenticity rocks. We love being it. We love watching it.

The tricky part is when we allow ourselves to be accountable. But being accountable is the second ingredient in the recipe for healthy relationships and communities. Yes, I am allowed to be authentic. But if my authenticity is needlessly hurting Lisa, then she needs to tell me. I don’t want to hurt her. So, I want to know when I do.

If we just valued authenticity, many of us would be very real but also very alone.

If we just valued accountability, many of us would be very careful but also very inauthentic.

We need the two.

Yes, there is real hurt and their is perceived hurt. But a healthy relationship talks it through to understand which it is and negotiates how to resolve it.

Mature people… that is, authentic and accountable people… figure out a way to make the relationship and the community work well. Unless of course they decide it’s not possible right now and go their separate ways. But that’s a mature decision as well.

Conflict happens. It’s the clash of authenticities.

But conflict resolution happens too. It’s the ability of those involved to make themselves accountable to the higher good of love that integrates all.

You can’t have one without the other.

Love to you authentic and accountable people!