Sunday, February 5, 2023

Augustine's encouragement for accountability

Confessions by Augustine is one of my favorite books, recommended to me by an agnostic professor, but one that brings delight to my soul each time I read it. As with most great books, rereading allows me to learn something new I hadn't realized before. In the passage below, Augustine revisits his motive for testifying to the work of God in his life—a heartfelt and encouraging argument for church accountability.

Would they share my joy when they hear how close, by your gift, I am lifted up to you, and share my prayer when they hear how far, by my own dead weight, I fall off from you? If so, to such I will open myself. For it is not a trivial help, God my Lord, to have "many give thanks for me or for many to pray for me.' I hope that a brother in spirit will love in me what you show him is lovable, lament in me what you show is lamentable—a brother, not a stranger, not 'a race of strangers, the speech of whose mouth is void of meaning, the work of whose strong hand is baneful,' but one who feels joy at what he approves in me, sorrow at what he disapproves, but feels love in both his joy and his sorrow. To such I will open myself, to those who feel relief for the good, grief for the bad, to be found in me.

Having friends and family to rebuke and encourage us in this pilgrimage is one of life's greatest blessings. May we open our hearts to brothers and sisters who will help us see Christ and behold His glory.



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