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It’s a natural tendency for us to want to hide our sin. Adam and Eve attempted to hide from God as soon as they sinned and we’re no different. The devil plays on that tendency, using lies to persuade us to cover our sin with secrecy. Some common lies the devil uses are:
If we believe the lies, we will likely withdraw and disconnect from God and the people in our life. The truth is that we cannot afford to be cut off from these potential help sources. Our adversary, the devil, prowls around like a “roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). When we allow ourselves to be isolated, we’re like the weak gazelle that gets separated from the rest of the herd. Eventually it becomes lunch for the lions!
What’s so dangerous about keeping my struggle secret?
Secrecy brings us under the devil’s influence: Secrecy is deception and deception is the work of the devil who is the “Father of Lies” (John 8:44). When we engage in deception, we open a door to the devil’s influence in our life. God wants us to have truth in our “innermost being” (Psalm 51:6). When we hide things in secrecy, we are giving lies a place in our innermost being.
Secrecy opens the
door to fear. Sexual sin is powerful fuel for
fear. Typical fears faced by
sex addicts include:
Our natural tendency
is to respond to the fear by trying to avoid these situations. To do
this, we’ll likely dive deeper into secrecy (and deeper into our sin
habit) to medicate the fear.
Secrecy causes physical
problems. Living a double life will wear us
down physically, emotionally and spiritually. For example, in Psalm
32:3-5 David described what happened when he kept his sin secret. David’s bones, energy and emotions
were all damaged by his secrecy until he confessed his sin. There are many other possible
physical problems that could arise from staying in secrecy (stress,
Secrecy blocks blessing: God will not bless us
when we’re covering our sins.
Proverbs 28:13 confirms this:
“He who covers his sins will not prosper, But
whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”
Accountability relationships: Accountability relationships can be excellent vehicles to break secrecy and encourage one another in our walk with Jesus. The term “accountability” refers to a loving relationship (non-sexual) between Christians that is meant to mutually encourage and strengthen each other in their pursuit of God. These relationships can exist in a one-on-one or in a small group (3-5 persons) format (usually same-gender). Ideally the persons involved should meet periodically throughout each month to stay in tune with how things are going with those in the group. These are not performance-oriented relationships. If a person falls to sin, the relationship should not be in jeopardy. It is probable that all of us will fall in sin one time or another. The accountability relationship provides a safety net to help get us back on track and keep walking with Jesus.
There are several scriptures that support the concept of accountability relationships:
The story Jonathan and his armor bearer makes a great analogy for accountability groups (1 Samuel 14:6-14). In the story, Jonathan and his armor bearer scaled a steep cliff and defeated a Philistine garrison of 20 men. They were united in purpose, faith in God and desire to serve God. As Jonathan attacked the enemy, his armor bearer stayed with him, guarding his back. As the Philistines fell before Jonathan, his armor-bearer killed them. Applying this to accountability relationships, we all need armor bearers to help us fight the spiritual battles of life. The walk with Jesus was not intended to be a one-man show. We need to be connected with those in the body of Christ as a team. We need people who will stand with us in battle and cover our back. Also, we need to be willing to be armor bearers for others in their battles.
Qualities of a
successful accountability relationship:
I’ve been involved in several accountability relationships. Some of them were good and others
not so good. I’ve highlighted
some qualities of successful accountability groups below.
Truth: This may be the biggest challenge
week in and week out. The
group members must fight the temptation to gloss over what is really going
on in their lives. If people
aren’t being real about what is going on, then the group will lose
effectiveness. It may be
difficult to admit that we’re struggling, but it’s even more difficult to
admit when we’ve failed.
Tough Questions: Tough questions will help keep us
from glossing over the core issues.
Here are some examples:
Love: Love will keep the relationship alive and free from any "legalistic" turns. Failures should be addressed with gentle rebuke, prayer and exhortation. Love is quick to listen and slow to speak. I’ve found it’s often a temptation to want to give advice and a quick fix. People don’t always want or need my advice, but they do want me to listen to them.
Who to meet with? We encourage you to seek God’s guidance for this. You obviously want to be cautious about who you approach. Look for God’s prompting and confirmation as you go forward. If you are not sure about where to look for a potential group, your church may be a good place to start.
Can my spouse be my accountability partner? Unless you are walking in sexual purity right now, we recommend that you do not make your spouse your accountability partner. This is primarily because of the emotional “re-wounding” that can occur if you fall back into your sex sin habit regularly.
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