Jesus said, (John 7:24) Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment." He was referring to their view of Sabbath breaking. They were criticizing him for healing on the Sabbath. He pointed out that circumcision was not considered work on the Sabbath but, they were accusing him of working and breaking the Sabbath for healing a man. Righteous judgment always allows mercy to triumph over judgment.
The Pharisees were trying to hold Jesus accountable to the Law but, they were not using righteous judgment. They were judging solely on the basis of their interpretation of the Law. In other words, they were not judging from their heart. The driving force in all accountability must be grace and truth. Notice this passage of scripture; (John 1:17) For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. What does that mean? Let’s try to break it down.
While the Law was given through Moses…the grace and truth found in the Law, had to be interpreted by Jesus Christ (Luke 24:27; 44-45.) This reinforces the idea of the redemptive purpose of all scripture. It is not that grace and truth was not present in the Law but rather, it was hidden…awaiting the mystery of Jesus Christ and God’s redemptive plan to be revealed. Therefore, grace and truth must always have precedence over judgment.
Back to loving accountability…it must always be used by believers that are trusting and resting in the grace of God, i.e., the gospel message. Loving accountability will be used to help the saint renew the mind to their positional state in Jesus. The saint, according to Paul, is the righteousness of God in Christ. This becomes the first part of loving accountability. Now then, after the mind has been renewed to the position one holds in Christ…it is then possible to look at the reasonable service instructions and explain why following them is God’s best for the individual. Grace must always be the driver.
What must not be done under any circumstances is to judge the saint. Allow the scripture and, the Holy Spirit residing in the saint be the corrective force. I am not saying that one cannot lovingly correct someone or, lovingly point out what the scripture says about a matter but, it must not be done in judgment with a law mentality. No, it must be from a redemptive, merciful and loving perspective that allows the saint that has come for accountability to be open and honest with the accountability partner. It also helps to have the accountability partner to acknowledge that they are not perfect but a work in progress awaiting Christ to be formed in them also.