I have been a member in what are notoriously called “accountability groups.” They are a valiant effort by Christians to pursue holiness in the context of community. I remember some of the sweetest times in college were conversations over coffee where a brother would ask for forgivness, or share a struggle with x, or pray earnestly for the salvation of a loved one.
Over the past couple weeks, however, I have been struck by the depth of my sin and my ability to mask that which lies beneath my humble rhetoric. I have gone through Wesley’s Questions of Accountability, which are very helpful. I have seen Bethlehem’s list of questions for the elder’s accountability. But these questions, I believe, could be helped by the simple question given as the title to this post: “How have you sinned this week?
“What does this question do? It is two-fold: 1) It pinpoints the fact that this person has sinned in some way – whether it be lust, discontentment, anger, fear, bitterness… and 2) It helps produce an atmosphere that we do not have it together.
So much of my “accountability time” was wasted in vain pursuits of perfection in the eyes of men. How many of us can speak about how we are learning about our incessant pride? How many would say “amen” to the confession of discontentment? I fear that so much of our confession to one another is cloaked in pharisaic casuistry. On the front end of any accountability relationship, we would be helped in affirming before each other that we are not perfected, yet.
We would be helped if in the first meeting together, the other brother told us three or four sins they see present in our lives. This way we would not be self-deluded that we have deluded others. That way we would be humbled by God’s gracios rod on our backs. How humbling…yet how freeing would it be if we were truly vulnerable with someone so that we do not turn red (from embarassment or anger!) when we confess a sin or when they point out sin in our lives?
I think much time could be saved and more holiness could be harvested if we asked this question at our first meeting.