It would be cruel if I reviewed this book and didn’t list the seven principles for you, so here they are:
- Accountability begins with brokenness, confession and repentance.
- Accountability requires your being able to talk about your feelings and needs.
- Accountability always requires a group of men or women, not just one person.
- Accountability means you must get rid of the garbage in your life.
- Prepare when you are strong for a time when you will be weak.
- Accountability means building and defending in equal measures.
- To change a negative behavior, you must do whatever it takes for as long as it takes.
The author is not trying to give us a simple checklist, but impart deep key principles from his 23 years of counseling men and couples.
Whether you have established accountability relationships, or you have never had accountability, this book will be helpful to you. It communicates on multiple levels sharing the basic principles of accountability, the bigger picture of accountability, and the guts of what happens in good accountability relationships.
Seven Principles is not a book of logistics. You won’t find key questions to ask your accountability partners. The book won’t give you instructions on how to gather friends and structure a meeting. It is written to help you see how accountability and deep interpersonal connections are essential in becoming a Man of Valor.
Listen to Jeff Fisher’s Interview with Dr. Laaser
Part 2: The Seven Principles of Highly Accountable Men (8:43)
The Example of Nehemiah
The author sees Nehemiah from the Old Testament as a Man of Valor, and draws heavily from his story to illustrate accountability. Nehemiah was burdened about the broken walls of Jerusalem and the waywardness of his people (Principle 1). He shares his burden with King Artaxerxes and gathers a group to begin the rebuild (Principles 2 & 3). He and the men cleared the rubble (Principle 4), rebuilt the gate, faced opposition (Principle 5), defended their project (Principle 6) and finished well (Principle 7).
Nehemiah’s journey is a springboard the author uses to show the principles behind accountability. Many men want to change, but never risk the journey. They struggle with addictions and sinful hang-ups, knowing they need to change, but are too fearful of other men knowing their junk. They’re afraid to have other men in their lives. They’re afraid of showing weakness and vulnerability.
To achieve true change, a person must be accountable to others to make the change…I have seen many people struggle with addiction because they don’t fully understand the foundation of accountability. (7)
Overarching Themes in the Series
If you read all three of Dr. Laaser’s books (which you don’t have to), you’ll notice repeating themes important with becoming a Man of Valor:
Going solo is deadly – We need one another, we need accountability, we need safe people we can share our struggles with, and we need a team of people to assist us.
Our deep needs must to be addressed in healthy ways – It’s easy to misinterpret our deep needs or try to meet them through addictive behaviors. The author features principles from his book The Seven Desires of Every Heart to help us learn what our core needs are and how to work on them.
We have to talk honestly about our junk – We won’t be able to work on our struggle and addictions if we don’t talk about them. We have to find others we can talk to and risk sharing the weaker parts of our lives.
There is much to unlearn and heal from – God will use His Word and other men to show us areas that need change. We have core beliefs that are not godly. We hold onto shame that must be released. We have wrong goals or wrong ways of achieving goals that must be corrected.
Our Need to Build
Principle Six stood out to me: Accountability means building and defending in equal measure. The author reminds the reader he is called by God to use his talents, creativity and energy in positive ways that glorify Him.
I believe we are all built to be creative and productive. We long to build. God put creative energy in our brains so that we will “be fruitful and increase in number.” (Genesis 1:28) (92)
Seven Principles of Highly Accountable Men caused me to reflect on how often I took my time, talents and creativity and used them to feed my selfish desires. I pursued sexual pleasure and was so creative in finding ways to feed my addiction. But God is in the process of redeeming the unhealthy structures I have built. Good accountability relationships encourage me to build in the right directions: physically, relationally, in my character, and toward my calling.