When my wife and I first moved to Georgia, we were very new to spending time outdoors. We had never been camping before, so we were learning a lot of things for the first time.
One of the most important things about camping was going when the weather was cool outside. During the day it had to be comfortable enough to spend time outdoors, but at night it could get pretty chilly. Since camping depends on minimizing resources and truly “roughing it” in nature, you had to pack smart and depend on each other to do things that you normally wouldn’t think twice about.
At night, since there wasn’t a space heater to plug in, we had to learn how to create and sustain a fire and, if it got too cold, use each other’s body heat to keep warm.
We had to learn how to be truly
dependent on each other to overcome—
it was something that neither
of us could do on our own.
Christian accountability is often like that in a lot of ways. Along with the Holy Spirit abiding in us, it takes the council and friendship of other believers walking with us to both survive and overcome life in this world.
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. | Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Going through our Christian walk, we often experience sin, temptation, and trials and think we have to face them on our own. We get overcome with thoughts of guilt and shame, thinking we would be judged by other believers if we reveal our deepest secrets to them. We think a believer shouldn’t be facing sin like this. Or we wonder why we have been struggling with the sin for so long and have not achieved victory over it.
In the council of true believers,
it is impossible to have judgement,
because each of them are in
the same place as you are.
There is no level of sin in the eyes of God—even the smallest sin that breaks God’s law bear the same weight as the greatest ones before His presence. Any and every sin separates us from Him, but only by faith in the perfect work of Jesus Christ can we have a relationship with our Heavenly Father. Now we no longer can receive judgement, but rather true love through grace and forgiveness. That is the same grace and forgiveness that other believers provide when facing the difficulties of this world.
When I look at my own life, I am so thankful for brothers in Christ that I have the opportunity to do life with because without them, I know I would be lost and think that I am the only one who struggles through some of the challenges I’ve faced. So then, if you are a believer, what is your responsibility to other brothers and sisters that are going through a difficult time?
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. | Galatians 6:1-2
Restoration in a spirit of gentleness is not an easy thing to do. It takes love, kindness, and true sympathy—understanding what the other person has faced through personal experience. But the warning that is also given here is to do it with prayer, self-control, and watchfulness so that we ourselves are not also tempted in the same way.
Growing up in the culture and background I grew up in, I never knew what true accountability was until I started university. Before then, all I knew about trusting others with the burdens of sin, was not to! All I saw was that no one could be trusted. I would put on a mask, play my part, and act like everything was okay. That was probably one of the most toxic and un-Christ-like experiences to grow up in, but I didn’t realize the hypocrisy of it until much later, when I actually found other believers who loved the Lord and loved others just like Christ did.
It was one of the most liberating and
encouraging experiences to see that.
My prayer for each of you is to find that brother or sister in Christ that you can lean on in the same way. Not as a comfort for sin but rather for spiritual admonition through love so that true restoration can take place. We were not meant to do this spiritual journey of life by ourselves; it is a huge burden to bear. We have been given the body of Christ to lean on to help us carry that burden!
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. | Proverbs 27:17