Lutheran Church Extension Fund
Everyone needs a 'bad breath' friend. Here's why

Everyone needs a 'bad breath' friend. Here's why

Monthly Theme: Assessing Wellness. Reading time: two minutes.

You don’t need a friend that has bad breath.

You need a friend who will tell you that you have bad breath.

Some things you can’t figure out on your own. We all have blind spots, and only your friends, those who keep you accountable and on the straight and narrow, will tell you about them.

I’m convinced that if all of our pastors and church workers had accountability partners of one sort or another (see below) far fewer would end up on the evening news for some kind of misbehavior.

The Lone Ranger had a “faithful companion.” Han Solo never flew solo.

Jesus sent the apostles out two by two.

The Bible continually speaks of the joy of close fellowship and partnerships. I’m sure you’ve got some favorite examples!

In Ecclesiastes we’re told, “Two are better than one. If either falls down, one can help the other up.”

This faith journey of life in ministry is not one that any of us should take alone. We all need a few “bad breath” friends who will let us know when we’re in trouble.

Before we talk about who can be that kind of a friend, let’s look at how this can work. (Think about who might do these things for you!)

The simplest way to have an accountability partner is to find a friend who can ask, “How are you doing?” Connect with someone you trust. Build trust further by spending regular time together, opening up in appropriate ways. Take the risk of sharing where you’re struggling.

To take it a little deeper, work your way around the Wellness Wheel. “How are you doing baptismally, spiritually, relationally, intellectually, emotionally, vocationally, physically, financially?”

It won’t take too many conversations to figure out where specifically your focus should be.

Then you can develop some questions that will hold you accountable, questions that you need your “bad breath” friend to ask you on a regular basis. I worked with seven questions at a time, that I rotated in and out from a longer list when necessary.

Here are a few examples of accountability questions that I had trusted friends ask me for many years:

“Are you spending time alone with God?”

“Are there any relationships in your life that need mending?”

“Is there any impurity in your life that needs to be confessed?”

“Are you handling your finances biblically?”

Who would be a good accountability partner for you?

Could conversations with your spouse serve the purpose of keeping good tabs on how you’re doing?

Do you have, or have you considered a Father Confessor or a peer in ministry to discuss these matters with regularly?

Are you part of a professional cohort? Could you talk to them about being more of an accountability group for one another?

Ask yourself, “Who is invested in my wellbeing, that really cares about me?”

Ecclesiastes continues, “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Thanks for reading.