As people were standing around visiting last night after church services a comment was made that people need to “mind their own business”. We were joking around and the comment was made in a light-spirited way but it made me contemplate a serious topic that permeates the modern church. There is a notion going around that when it comes to one another in the church, people should “mind their own business” so to speak. The idea of accountability, looking out for one another, exhortation, discipleship, admonishment, and being answerable to one another is gone. This thought is foreign, especially when it comes to a brother or sister who is sinning. After all, who are you to point out the faults and failures in others?
But as we read the Bible we see a theme of accountability of believers to one another. We are to love one another, honor one another, edify one another, admonish one another, care for one another, serve one another, restore one another, bear one another’s burdens, and be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving toward one another. We are to teach one another, comfort one another, exhort one another, and consider one another. The Bible says we are to confess our sins to one another, have compassion with one another, be hospitable to one another, minister to one another, and fellowship with one another. (John 13:34, Romans 12:10, Romans 14:19, Romans 15:14, I Corinthians 12:25, Galatians 5:13, Galatians 6:1-2, Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:16, I Thessalonians 4:18, Hebrews 3:13, Hebrews 10:24, James 5:16, I Peter 3:8, I Peter 4:9-10, I John 1:7)
God designed us for accountability. We need each other. It was never intended for the believer to be an island off to themselves. Coming to the faith in Scriptures always meant coming to a local fellowship of believers (the church or assembly). Salvation is personal but the Christian life is not; we are not to be lone rangers. When we are born into this world we are born to a family; when we are “born again” we should be joined with a family of believers. In this family, the older are to teach the younger (Titus 2). The strong in the faith should help to restore those overtaken in faults (Galatians 6:1). The brethren should lovingly exhort and warn the unruly (I Thessalonians 5:14). We are called to encourage one another daily so that sin will not harden our hearts (Hebrews 3:12-13). And we are to love those in sin enough to have compassion and make a difference in their life. Jude 22-23 says, “And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” We are our brother’s keeper! It was the first murderer who said, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Genesis 4:9. Do we, as believers, really want to associate with this line of thinking?
There are several reasons that believers do not get involved in the lives of other believers. One reason is that we are busy and it takes a lot of effort and time to be accountable to one another. But that should not be an excuse. We should make time for one another. Another reason is that we have sin in our lives that we do not want to deal with. Therefore, we cannot deal with sin in other people’s lives. King David had sin in his life (a lot of sin) but when he repented and confessed his sin before God he said in Psalms 51 that he would use his experience to teach others. “Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee,” Psalm 51:13. Another reason we do not exhort others is because we fear that if we do we will be seen as “judging” them. It is here people quote, “Judge not that ye be not judged,” (Matthew 7:1). This is the problem we have when Scripture is taken out of context. The Bible does not say we cannot judge the sins of others but that we are to first cast the beam out of our own eye “and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye,” (Matthew 7:5). We are not to be hypocritical but in love and concern for our brother tell him his fault.
I have found through social media, (like fb) that there are many professing Christians that have no qualm about sharing their sins with the world. In pride and without shame they are puffed up and boast about sinning against God. This greatly concerns me. The testimonies of these charlatans are ruining the name of Christ. When Christ’s name is slandered His church looses the ability to influence society. This is partly the reason the church is relegated to the corner of society. These people might have a “form of godliness” but they deny the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5). What power are they denying? They are denying the power of the Word of God to work in their life, (I Thessalonians 2:13). They are denying the power of Christ to crucify the old man, (Romans 6:6). They are denying the power of God to keep them from practicing a lifestyle of sin (I John 3:9). They are denying the power of the Holy Ghost to teach them spiritual things, (I Corinthians 2:10-13).
Like so many issues in the Bible, this one is clear. The truths found in Scripture are absolute. The Bible is black and white. But regardless of this reality, they are not always easy to receive. Accountability is hard. It is hard to submit to the authority of others in your life. But when we submit to that authority we are submitting to the will of God, (I Peter 5:5). And likewise, sometimes it is hard speaking God’s Word into the life of others. But if we truly love our brothers and sisters in the Lord we will be their keeper and exhort, rebuke, edify, and admonish them when it is necessary.