“If anyone falls into sin, call that person on the carpet. Those who are inclined that way will know right off they can’t get by with it.”
1 Timothy 5:20 The Message
Seems a little harsh, huh? Well, I think this verse is so harsh and direct because sin is such a dangerous thing. Once someone gets involved in sin, it grows deeper and deeper every day. So, if we would hold each other accountable, the world would be a much better place in the end. What if we could help our friends and count on them to help us by not allowing us to live in our sins?
It is such a scary feeling to confront a friend and tell them that you are concerned that they are not making the right decisions according to their best interest in the long run. However, God calls each one of us to hold our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to a higher standard. Sometimes, it is not going to be comfortable. You will be put in the position where you want to speak the truth, but cannot find the words because of fear. You might experience a time when you finally find the words to say, but your friend receives the words with defense instead of acceptance. I have experienced both situations, and neither are comfortable in the least. However, I do not regret the words I prayed that Jesus would speak through me to my friend. It is so worth the uncomfortableness to speak the Word of truth to brothers and sisters in Christ to save them from a life of misery while living in sin.
On the opposite side of that, be accepting of words that other people offer to you about your decisions. If you are going to hold others accountable for their sins, allow them to speak into your heart and hold you accountable. Believe me, constructive criticism is probably one of my least favorite things to hear. But, there have been many situations where I was blinded by my sin and the only reason I was able to take a different perspective on the situation was because of a friend’s constructive criticism. It is definitely hard to hear someone point out the areas that you are struggling in, but I can assure you, it is because they care about your salvation and your well-being.
“If a person is involved in some serious sins, you don’t want to become an unwitting accomplice. In any event, keep a close check on yourself. And don’t worry too much about what the critics will say.” 1 Timothy 5:22 The Message
Another precaution: if you are trying to help someone make better decisions and hold them accountable, make sure you are not dragged down into sin in the process. It is easy to explain away your bad decisions if you are surrounded by people making the same decisions. Make sure to hold yourself accountable and remove yourself from situations where you might lose your self control.
“But you, Timothy, man of God: Run for your life from all this. Pursue a righteous life-a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life, the life you were called to, the life you so fervently embraced in the presence of so many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:11-12
Listen to these wise words. Pursue a righteous life and focus on the eternal life. Today, live for the day when you will be welcomed into eternal life. Hold your brothers and sisters accountable in Christ and accept counsel from them as well. Hold fast to your values and your faith.