Last week one of my favorite Christian entertainers was exposed for sexual sin. I found myself angry and sad at the same time. One of my friends, who was also a fan, texted me saying she too felt angry with him, as well as with sin itself, and sad for the people he’d hurt. I saw threads online where people expressed anger while others seemed to want to pardon the behavior immediately, because forgiveness, right? I’m not sure that sits so well with me. Yes, we must forgive. But it’s usually a process, not something that happens immediately. The other thing that occurred to me is that ALL sin has consequences. Whether in the physical or spiritual, immediate or delayed, there’s always a price to pay for sin. It separates us from God and often from our Christian brothers and sisters. How should that play out? Is there room for reconciliation? I believe relationships can be restored but only through the healing blood of Jesus. Whether or not leadership can be restored, I’m honestly not sure. Jesus doesn’t mince words when it comes to leaders who lead their followers down a sinful path:
“And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.”Luke 17:1-2
He does continue saying:
“Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”Luke 17: 3-4
Forgiveness is offered to those who turn away from their sin. But what about avoiding it in the first place?
My friend and I exchanged messages and she asked some great questions: “Who was he accountable to? Who was pastoring him?”
It’s something we should all consider for ourselves. Who can we go to when we’re in trouble? When we want to avoid trouble? Who speaks God’s holiness into our lives and helps us stay on the narrow path following Jesus?
I don’t personally care for the phrase “accountability partner” because I think it sounds more like an arrangement than a relationship, but it’s a good concept to think about. Because we all face temptation and we need someone who is willing to walk the path to righteousness with us. I talked a little bit about it in “The Importance of Christian Friends” (Click here) but I want to explore the accountability aspect of friendship further today.
It’s difficult to be accountable in isolation. When the shame of our past failures and the appeal of present temptations come to visit, there aren’t many who are strong enough to walk away without the strength and support of a true friend. Yes, the Holy Spirit always provides a way out:
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”1 Corinthians 10:13
But finding the door out of a situation can be difficult when we’re standing in the dark. A friend can see our situation from another angle and even provide a little light so we can find our way out.
Friends who hold us accountable inspire us on our journey toward wholeness and holiness. They walk beside us when we’re doing well, not just when we’re struggling. They see the good and call it out of us.
I have multiple women in my life who hold me accountable. But they can only enter in to the degree that I let them in. Accountability demands vulnerability. It can’t be accomplished through shallow conversation or in passing friendship. It demands time and a commitment to each other’s well-being. This kind of deep friendship is costly. It may mean late nights and making time for face to face conversation. In a world of busyness, a friendship of accountability means finding time to sit down and actively listen to another person. It means adjusting our priorities and putting another person at the top of the list.
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”Philippians 2:3-4
It’s against the grain and contradictory to culture, for sure. It’s not Instagram worthy and can be full of ugly tears and uncomfortable conversation. But it’s worth it. Because Jesus is worth it. He calls us to holiness, to Himself. And if we are following His example, we will stand in unity with other believers, dive deep into friendships, and pursue holiness together.
Do you have someone who holds you accountable in your walk with Christ?
If not, pray for opportunities to connect with other believers on a deeper level. And if there aren’t any, make them. See my article “Created for Connection” (Click here) for more ideas on how to connect with other believers in a deep and meaningful way.