Q. There is a group of three or four in my small rural church that has started an “accountability group”. They sit around and tell each other their darkest secret sins. I asked them, “didn’t you already ask God for forgiveness and repent?” And they replied that “we must hold each other accountable.” I don’t get it…If the sins were confessed and forgiven, what’s the point of reliving them? Am I missing something?
A. Accountability groups are normally formed to help people keep from sinning in the present, not to confess past sins. The idea is that several people agree to tell each other when they’re being tempted so they can gain more strength to resist. It’s sort of like the alcoholic who calls someone from his support group when he feels the need for a drink.
I agree with you that for the most part nothing is gained from revealing sins you’ve already confessed and been forgiven for. But some feel that by confessing sins they’ve had problems resisting in the past helps the the group know what questions to ask them about their current behavior. In any case the purpose of an accountability group is just as its name implies, to hold one another accountable for maintaining Biblical standards of behavior.