Spam Email and Personal Accountability.

This week, I found out my email account had been hacked. My account was sending out spam emails of all kinds, to everyone in my address book. I immediately changed my password, but then I started asking people in my various social networks, “Did you get spam email from me?”  Several responded, “Yeah, I got something like that from you.”

The question I didn’t ask, because I didn’t want to put them on the spot like a jerk (though I’m totally okay with doing it here), was: “Why didn’t you let me know there was a problem?”

I may be a weirdo, but whenever someone is sending me spam messages, I will always try to discreetly contact them and let them know. It’s almost the internet equivalent of telling someone they have a big ol’ booger in their nostril–it’s a little awkward in the moment, but the person receiving the news is very grateful.

Which is why we need people in our lives who will hold us personally accountable (whether that be to moral standards, spiritual values, or personal goals). People whom we have given permission and access to our inner circle and are allowed to ask difficult questions and speak kind but hard truths.  Some people assume this role when they shouldn’t or when they haven’t been invited, so it’s good not to be that person. But we each need a few of these people to let us know when we have a “bat in the cave,” when we unwittingly advertise overseas drugstores via email, or when we’re being selfish jerks.

I have a couple of guys that I meet with on a weekly basis, with whom I am completely honest…usually. This week, I have to admit, I ran through the litany of issues and areas I wrestle with in my life and faith but left a few things out. One of the guys lovingly and firmly called me out on it. Just nailed me. And I needed it. I need people around me who will cut through my shadings and rationalization, who will listen for what’s not said, and who will proceed to poke at the very areas I am willfully or unconsciously blind to.

So let me encourage you, reader: if you don’t have people like that in your life, get some. Immediately. It’s vitally important. Even if you don’t think you need them, just trust me–you do. The people around you are just being politely unhelpful by not letting you know.

Consider this a Public Service Announcement from your friendly neighborhood 4thDave.

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