Today is the feast of St. Ambrose, an archbishop and doctor of the church. He lived in the fourth century and was instrumental in the conversion of another prominent doctor of the church, St. Augustine. St. Ambrose was a great defender of Church doctrine and integrity. At a time when the Roman Empire and the Church were closely aligned, he stood up to the Emperor Theodosius, excommunicating him after he ordered the slaughter of over 7,000 in retaliation for the death of a Roman governor in a riot. But Theodosius then spent many months doing penance for his sins, was reconciled with the Church, and remained a lifelong friend of St. Ambrose.
This story is one of the ultimate examples of one calling another to accountability. Theodosius could have responded in an immature manner and refused to take responsibility for his actions. Ambrose could have chosen not to take a stand out of fear for his own life. But in the end, both men understood the importance of being not only accountable to one another, but also to God. The Body of Christ is only as strong as the sum of its parts working together. We should never fear being held accountable.
Daily advent challenge:
Set up a time to talk to someone about your need for accountability. Ask them to talk to you frankly and remind you of the importance of living as a disciple of Jesus Christ.