Taking Sin and Grace Seriously
As an accountability partner, you need to take sin and grace seriously. That is, you need to know when to confront and rebuke sin and when to show grace and give hope.
Your partner will have successes and failures along the way. When there are failures, where is the balance between taking sin seriously and taking grace seriously?
Seek Your Partner’s Best Interests
Before you decide how to respond, remember that you should act in the best interests of your partner. How might you best serve them in love?
Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)
You can love your partner by covering their sin in two ways: confronting sin or overlooking sin.
- Confronting dangerous failures: “My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:19–20).
- Overlooking justifiable failures: “Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions” (Proverbs 10:12).
Deal with sin as it needs to be dealt with, but always be motivated by love. Focus on the good goal to be achieved.
Deal with sin as it needs to be dealt with, but always be motivated by love.
Consider the Bigger Picture
Avoid reacting to a single instance of failure. Take a broader look and put their present failure in its proper context. Instead of acting based on a snapshot of their life, look at the long story to see your partner’s patterns and directions.
Discern how best to help your partner by considering the following kind of questions:
- How are they taking responsibility for themselves?
- What progress have you seen in them?
- Have they consistently failed in this way?
- Are they willingly confessing their sin?
- Are they blaming someone or something else for their sin?
- Are they hiding their sin and ignoring rebukes?
- How are they fighting temptation?
- Are they responding favorably to your questions and corrections?
- What might happen if this behavior does not change?
- How are they being harmed or harming others by their failure?
- Are they internally motivated toward excellence?
You wouldn’t want to be judged by one act but would plead for others to keep it in perspective with your overall practice. Show the same consideration to your partner.
When to Show Grace and Give Hope
Always seek to show grace and give hope. But you should also know when to confront and rebuke sin in a redemptive way.
Through the whole process of helping others, you should be motivated by love. Do your very best as an accountability partner and encourage your partner toward success.