I need people who regularly ask me about my walk with God, who readily challenge my behaviour, and know about my temptations. I need my friend Samuel, who often asks: 'What's the question you don't want me to ask you?'
There are some sins that thrive on secrecy. They include sins of escape: things we do when we're feeling under pressure, such as sexual fantasies, pornography, compulsive eating and addictions. They include sins of the mind: things such as bitterness, envy, jealousy and complaining. We can become very adept at hiding them. But hiding them feeds them. You feel bad about yourself, so you eat compulsively. You eat compulsively, so you feel bad about yourself...The fear of exposure means you withdraw from the Christian community or learn to pretend. But withdrawal and pretence cut you off from the help of the community.
One thing we've learned in our church is that change takes place only when these sins come out into the open. It's difficult, but confession to another Christian will be a big step forward. You don't need to tell everyone! But do tell someone.
What should you do if someone confesses their sin to you? Speak the truth in love. Don't tell them their sin is understandable or insignificant. That offers no comfort because it's a lie. But we can speak words of comfort because we can speak words of grace. Call them to repent of their sin and accept by faith the forgiveness that God offers....Embody that forgiveness in your ongoing acceptance and love...Explore, if you can, the lies and desires that lead to their sinful behaviour...Be proactive about offering accountability. That means asking the question! Ask them how they're getting on; ask them whether they've sinned again. Be specific: ask when, where, why, how often. Above all, point them to the grace and glory of Christ.
Tim Chester You Can Change 175-6 my emphases.
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