Regarding my post yesterday…What? You did not read it? Here it is: Accountability and a brief history of Methodism. About that post – I had a somewhat related idea, that is not entirely my own but one I have expanded upon.
I once read about a group (I think an adult sunday school class) where everyone was given a sheet of paper that had everyone’s name on it, and each individual was to write down positive aspects about each person on the list – things they appreciated about them, admirable qualities, spiritual fruit in their life, etc. In that particular setting, it was effective and helpful. It was done anonymously – you did not know who said what about you.
We can fail to encourage others like we should, and can take people for granted. We become accustomed to how they serve others, and assume they will continue at it – never saying thanks or expressing appreciation. Or perhaps we have been influenced by someone’s loving spirit, strong faith, prophetic voice of truth, or hospitable nature – and we have never let them know.
Past post: The Gift of Encouragement.
On that note, @fairlyspiritual on twitter recently shared this: “The prophetic voice is positioned for a lifetime of rejection. Therefore it is a gifting that needs encouragement in and through the Body [church].” – I agree.
But I digressed there, and need to get back to my post yesterday about accountability among Christians. We need to pray for the spiritual perception to see the sin in our own life. We can be terribly blind to ourselves. We also need a humbleness to allow those who care about us to lovingly point out our weaknesses and sinful proclivities. Since we can be terribly blind to ourselves, we need those close to us to share their honest observations about us.
This is easier said than done. We are all naturally proud. But if we are all resting in our identity in Christ, humbly remembering that the ground is level at the foot of the cross, and a spirit of love pervades the fellowship – we can admit our sins and be open to this type of honest interaction. (See John Wesley’s rules for the small groups in yesterday’s post.)
Christians need each other in order to keep growing into the likeness of our Savior. Individualism and Christianity are contrary.
But finally to get to my initial point with this post…that sheet of paper where they wrote down the positives. My thought was that this could be expanded, and each person would also write down areas where they thought the individual needed improvement – noting any weaknesses or sinful tendencies.
Since both positives and negatives are shared, it is balanced, and it will hopefully be received in a different way than if only negative things were pointed out. Also, the fact that it is done anonymously could be an ideal way to begin such an endeavor – a more indirect way to initiate a group as they move in the direction of accountability and deeper sharing of the spiritual life. I don’t think this should be unexpectedly sprung on the group either, but bathed in prayer ahead of time. Etc.
Feel free to share your thoughts.