There are believers among us that sit quietly to themselves in agony wondering:
Who can I confide in that won’t judge me, but allow me to be transparent?
Being My Brother’s (or Sister’s) Keeper
This is a real question within the Body of Christ today, and one we can no longer ignore.
We are told in scripture that if one of us suffers, we all suffer.
And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
~ 1 Corinthians 12:26 (NKJV)
If we’re going to make a difference in our fellowship within the Body of Christ, we must realize that we are brothers and sisters in Christ first!
Brothers And Sisters In Christ First
When we become born again, we are re-born into a new family; God’s family. In which we belong to God’s household.
Ephesians 2:19 (AMPC) tells us: Therefore you are no longer outsiders (exiles, migrants, and aliens, excluded from the rights of citizens), but you now share citizenship with the saints (God’s own people, consecrated and set apart for Himself); and you belong to God’s [own] household.
Once we are a part of God’s family that changes everything.
That means we are brothers and sisters in Christ before we are; husband and wife, parent and child, brother and sister, employer and employee, ministry leader and team member, pastor and congregation member.
You see, the family of God trumps all other relationship labels. As it is that relationship that has a completely different expectation from God.
Hebrews 10:24-25 (AMPC) tell us: And let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities,
Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching.
The day of Jesus Christ return is approaching us. We are seeing more violence, destruction, wars, and hate all around us. And all the more why we need each other!
We need EVERY member of the Body of Christ!
When we recognize our need for each other as brothers and sisters of God’s family, it will change how we interact with one another as; husband and wife, parent and child, brother and sister, leader and team member, or Pastor and church member.
Recognizing the very essence of our relationship as God’s family, and acting like we’re a part of God’s family is another. Which this leads us to an important question…
Are People Coming To You?
A few years ago we heard a Pastor say something very profound that stuck with us. “If people aren’t coming to you, you’re doing it wrong.”
Think about that for a moment. How often do people come to you for advice?
Let’s put this question another way, have you heard about someone going through a challenge and you wished you had known?
This isn’t to make anyone feel bad, rather inspire us to identify opportunities we have in making ourselves more approachable.
Yes, some may say a closed mouth doesn’t get fed. But could it be that one doesn’t share not because they were too embarrassed, but maybe they feel like they can’t?
Is it possible that the Body of Christ gave the impression that we are judgmental in our responses?
Over the last few days we have seen social media posts and heard conversations of believers saying; if you need something say something.
The problem with that statement is that people aren’t saying anything. There’s a reason believers don’t feel comfortable being transparent with each other. And we must change that.
How To Fix Accountability
Becoming a part of God’s family is just one piece of the puzzle.
However, for us to experience the fullness of God’s family (accountability, and commitment towards one another), we must pursue and maintain our relationships within the family of God.
These relationships can only be developed through fellowship. We cannot obtain this unique experience if we isolate ourselves.
And it is through this accountability that truly sets us apart as the family of God.
8 Accountability Characteristics
We talk about accountability often within the church. And often time’s accountability is misunderstood for judgment. But today we want to talk about accountability from a different perspective.
We want to talk about 8 characteristics of biblical accountability that sets us apart as one of God’s household. This is what makes our family different from the world.
Accountability begins with trust. Trust is only developed when we come together for regular fellowship with one another.
Building trust takes time, therefore, the more we get together to establish a rapport with one another, the more we will feel safe and trust our heart with each other.
Being relatable is a key component of accountability.
When we intentionally gather to fellowship with one another and build trust, and candidly share, we open the door to creating a common bond that’s relatable through similar experiences.
As a result, we grow closer and relate to one another with empathy.
Too many times we listen to respond, as opposed to listening to understand. Sometimes the best way to listen is to not always have an answer and just weep with those who weep. Or rejoice with those who rejoice.
Too many times we listen to respond, as opposed to listening to understand. Click To Tweet
When we go to each other within the Body of Christ, many of us know what God’s word says, we just may be having a moment.
Sometimes what your brother or sister needs is an ear, not a lip.
They want a safe place that allows them to speak their hearts, their hurts, and troubles.
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” ~ James 1:19 (NLT)
Accountability is only successful when there is a relationship based on trust. And that trust is what allows each person to speak into each other’s life with the sole purpose of growing together in our faith.
Unfortunately, the church has developed a reputation of being judgmental and calling it accountability. (Not all of us, but since we are ONE body, it makes us all look bad.)
Yes, we are to hold each other accountable to God’s Word; but how effective has it been when you’ve tried to correct someone you are not in a relationship with?
Even the most difficult corrections can be received with a humbled heart when communicated properly, by having earned the right to speak into someone’s life.
We are quick to correct with scripture, without truly knowing the person or the circumstances. And that only makes our brothers and sisters within the Body run from each other, instead of to each other.
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. 2 For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” ~ Matthew 7:1-2 (NLT)
Care for One Another
If you are an older brother or sister, then you know the expectation your parents had of you when you went to school.
“Be sure to look after your brother or sister.”
Funny enough, God tells us the same thing. We are to make sure we care for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Remember Hebrews 10:24?
“And let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities,” ~ Hebrews 10:24 (AMPC)
We are to give continuous care for one another in God’s household because that’s what family does!
Serve One Another
Jesus was our best example of what serving one another looks like. The King of Kings humbled himself to serve the church because he loves us.
Likewise, because we love God, we love each other. And because we belong to the same family, we must serve one another.
“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.” ~ Galatians 5:13 (NLT)
Forgive One Another
As with any family, over time there will be times we make mistakes, hurt or offend one another.
However, because we are a part of God’s family, ignoring one another, carrying a grudge, or gossiping about one another, is not what we do.
It’s not who we are, because of WHOSE we are.
“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” ~ Ephesians 4:32 (NLT)
Edify One Another
The best part of accountability that is often missed is our ability to edify one another. When we hold each other accountable through edification, we are always more successful.
It’s easy to point out what someone has done wrong, what YOU think they could have said or done better. However, when we put more effort in communication about what’s RIGHT, we will find that people’s hearts will be more eager to work on areas they fall short.
“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NLT)
In The End
When we walk within these characteristics of accountability and have an awareness of our relationship as brothers and sister in Christ, it will change how we interact with one another.
We must make an intentional effort to check on one another, fellowship with each other face to face. Social media, text messages and emails do not effectively reflect our hearts.
And it is this interaction that will make all the difference in one’s life, and can keep one from feeling isolated and alone.
Because you are our brother and sister, we have no option but to be your keeper. That is what God expects of us!
So in closing we ask you again; Are You Your Brother’s (or Sister’s) Keeper?
~ André and Timberley Gray
Julia whann says
Really good article, well written. Excellent points supported by scripture. Now, how do we translate that into action. We have to be aware that not everyone wants to be everybody’s sibling, even though we are commanded to do that. We are all at various levels of growth and backgrounds. So we may not all fit together YET. There needs to be a sensitivity to get a feel for who might be willing to share this level of intimacy. This does not relieve us of making an effort in finding out who may be agreeable. So, I will start with phone calls or emails.
Love you guys.
You are right Julia not everyone wants this level of accountability so you have use discernment. Our mentors taught us to pray about those God assigned us to disciple because not everyone want’s true discipleship and accountability. This doesn’t mean we hold everyone accountable, only those God has called us to close relationship. Hope that helps!