I have been in a group with some guys for the past 7 years. Periodically, we have a man come and meet with us who has been in a group with the same guys for 35 years. When he comes we mostly just ask questions. One of his statements stuck with me, “Unless we are accountable to Jesus first, there is really no need for accountability with others.”
I think he made the statement partially for shock value. Obviously, this man highly values the accountability that comes about through long-term friendship with others. I believe what he was getting at is that any of us can hide. Even in deep growing friendship with others, we ultimately choose what we share. Without conviction there is no repentance, and without repentance there is no real change. Jesus first message (according to Mark) “repent and believe” (Mark 1:14) was an invitation to conviction.
As I go about my day today I have to ask the question behind the question: What is Jesus affirming in me today, and what is He wanting me to embrace or let go of? Repentance is not saying “I’m sorry”, it is a re-evaluation that leads to action. That is the invitation of Jesus.