Question: So About Accountability and Confession

Anonymous asked:
Do you think that it’s necessary that a Christian repent of ALL his sins before his brothers (aka accountability brothers)?

Ah, accountability groups.  The best and worst thing to pop up in modern ministry.  Like youth group and multi-site churches.

If you actually mean “confession” to your brothers — since we should always repent of our sin before God — then that really depends on motives and methods.  If you’re holding back on something, that’s not a good thing, but if you’re revealing everything in a vivid, overly detailed, sensational sort of way, that’s also not a good thing.  Both methods point to some dishonest motives.

Sometimes our idea of accountability is a horrible practice because there’s so much morbid introspection that it becomes less about Christ’s finished work and more about man-centered struggles.  There’s certainly a place for being held accountable to your brothers, but it hardly ever goes well if we don’t set biblical parameters. 

Giving someone the active power to rebuke you can easily turn into deconstructive criticism, which causes them to judge you unfairly.  The filter gets set more and more negative and nitpicky.  I’ve had accountability partners that imploded into judgmental disasters: most of them are no longer friends.  We not only did it for the wrong motives, but had all the wrong methods.

I would say that accountability grows out of friendship and not the other way around.  It’s weird to get a bunch of dudes together and say, “Hey let’s keep each other in line.” That sort of go-ahead greenlight gets egotistical fast.  Some guys will take that as a power trip, and again, it leads to catastrophic results. 

But if you’ve established a friendship, a trust, a graciousness, then of course you can confess ALL those sins naturally because you know they will be both firm and loving.  This doesn’t take a scheduled time or a group or a formal plan.  While formality can work, very rarely have I seen accountability groups not feel like forced interrogations. 

The number one help in quitting porn was confessing my sin to my roommate, who also attends my church.  We’re close — but we never said, “Hey let’s be accountable!” We felt comfortable to confess the craziest stuff, and he restored me gently like a Galatians 6 brother.  Friendship first, bro.

I’ve also written about it here. It’s a couple years old so please forgive some of the writing style.


One thought on “Question: So About Accountability and Confession

  1. “I would say that accountability grows out of friendship and not the other way around.”
    I so agree with this! The man I would probably call my accountability partner has been a friend since sixth grade but we simply call each other friend.


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