The Hard and the Beautiful of Being Called Out

by Jennie Allen June 15, 2022
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” Galatians 6:1a (ESV)

What is it about accountability that makes us squirm?

At its core, accountability calls us to who we are meant to be, through truth mixed with grace. Yet our generation’s declaration of personal independence has pushed this away. We resent being challenged on our behavior. But what if that missing element is exactly why we all feel like our relationships don’t run deep?

I first met my friend Jey through some mutual friends. He is young, smart and joyful. As he started filling in the blanks on his upbringing, I remember thinking, It absolutely doesn’t seem possible that this person and this story go together.

Jey’s childhood in the slums of Nairobi was rough. I mean, rough rough.

Rough, as in being imprisoned at age 9 for having stolen food that his single mom and siblings desperately needed to avoid utterly wasting away.

Here’s the funny thing about Jey: When you get him talking about his childhood, he smiles. He told me stories about the norm in Kenya of “holding each other’s hands”:

“Kids would show up at our little house because we didn’t have doors or locks on our little hut, and my grandmother, who lived with us, would have no idea when they’d last eaten.” She was barely keeping her own kids alive, remember. But still, she’d usher those kids inside, sit them at the table and feed them like they were her own.

Though Nairobi is a city of millions, his grandmother and others within Jey’s neighborhood served as a village-sized community.

He said, “I would be running on the other side of the slum, goofing off with friends, and would hear my name because ‘the elders’ were everywhere! And those elders would grab me by the collar right then and there and punish me, and of course, my grandmother would hear about it.”

For the next decade, Jey worked hard in school and found work that eventually took him to the United States, where he lives now in Atlanta.

What Jey couldn’t have anticipated was that, while life back in Kenya had been rough all those years, he’d enjoyed a type of prosperity that he didn’t recognize until it was gone. When he spoke about what he missed about Nairobi and the slums, he said, “I miss everyone being in and out of our lives. I wish that were true here. It’s so different. I’m grateful for all we have here, but I wish my kids were growing up with tribal elders in their ears. I wish we could be part of a village here.”

When we don’t have a village of interconnected, consistent teammates in our lives, we feel invisible, and when we are left alone and unbothered, we become the worst version of ourselves. Whether it’s neighbors, mentors, grandparents or our closest friends, we need people who see us, who call us up and out. Our key verse, Galatians 6:1a, instructs us on how to do this: “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.”

Once you’ve identified a wise and trustworthy friend(s), here’s how you intentionally pursue accountability:

  1. Give permission to this person or people to tell you the truth.
  2. Ask them regularly: What area of my life do I need to grow in? What practices do I need to embrace in order to grow and mature? Will you hold me accountable to this change?
  3. Plan follow-up meetings. Schedule times when you can revisit this conversation.
  4. Ask your friend(s) if you can hold them accountable for anything.

God made us for community! And it’s when we’re in community with others who are committed to keeping us accountable that we become the very best version of ourselves.

God, thank You for the gift of accountability. Will You help me set aside any pride in my life that is keeping me from living connected like this? Help me find my people who will call me out and call me up to live more like Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


If you’re ready to find your people and start living in deep, intentional community, grab a copy of Jennie Allen’s new book, Find Your People: Building Deep Community in a Lonely World.


Jey’s life was changed when Compassion International stepped in and he no longer needed to steal food for his family. Compassion International, through the local church, was a part of the community in Jey’s life. Because one person said “yes” to sponsorship, Jey no longer had to worry if he’d get to finish school. He not only finished school — he went on to graduate from Daystar University in Nairobi, Kenya.

Will you be that one person today? Will you say “yes” to make a difference in the life of a child through sponsorship? Click here to sponsor and you will receive a copy of Jennie’s new book, Find Your People.

Enter to WIN your very own copy of Find Your People by Jennie Allen. To celebrate this book, Jennie’s publisher will give away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and then notify each one in the comments section by Monday, June 20, 2022.}


Ephesians 4:25, “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” (ESV)

Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (ESV)

Who are the people in your life who love you, love God, and can call you out and call you up to live more like Christ?

If you don’t have these people, who can you reach out to right now and ask to provide this kind of accountability in your life?

© 2022 by Jennie Allen. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Compassion International for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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