One of the buzz words heard around religious circles these days is “accountability.” Apparently the idea is that a group of Christians get together, and “hold each other accountable” for their actions. They urge each other to study the Bible, pray, stay off the bottle — whatever it is that the other needs.
I believe that as a church we should be concerned about each other, and that when a brother is falling away we should do what we can to restore him: “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you may also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).
Paul seems to be saying, “Help your erring brother, but do it with great care, do it humbly, recognizing your own weakness, and only when it is warranted.” I would like to remind us that there is another word that should be added to the phrase “accountability.” It is the word “personal,” forming the phrase “personal accountability.”
“So then each of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:10).
“For every living soul belongs to me, the father as well as the son –both alike belong to me. The soul who sins is the one who will die” (Ezekiel 18:4).
It is all too human for us to spot the weakness of others, and all too easy to forget that we each bear an awesome responsibility before God ourselves.
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