By Salem Afangideh
I remember that night so clearly. I was lying on my little boarding school bed tossing and turning until about 1 a.m. in the morning. I was very mad at myself for not being able to sleep because I had a huge day the next morning; I wasn’t exactly sure what was wrong. I remember slowly crawling out of my bed, taking my blanket, and walking out of the room to the spot that had become my “God spot” over the years. I would talk to the LORD about what was going on, but had no idea that He would totally change my world that night. As I crept slowly down the stairs and approached our “spot” I noticed a faint figure already sitting there. Slightly agitated, I kept walking and trying to see if I knew whom it was. I noticed it was the new girl, Sharon; she was sitting there praying.
Unlike most of my friends that had been in the boarding school since 7th grade year and had all grown up together, Sharon changed schools and had just started 10th grade year with us; she was a little bit of the outsider. However, her gentle and quiet spirit and her love for Jesus was so outstanding. She was so confident in her relationship with her savior and her identity in Him that I secretly wanted to be friends with her. However, in the past year, a very great friendship ended and I was still bitter and learning to forgive, so I kept Sharon at arms length. I was very nice to her, but not wanting to be close enough to anyone that they could hurt me.
Something was different about this night, instead of going back to my room, I went and sat beside Sharon and asked if I could join in her prayer time. After our prayer time, we started reading the Bible and as we read the first verse, James 5:16, “therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for each other that you may be healed”, I felt my heart knit with hers, and what happened next was a total shock to me. I was very much a private person at that time and had a lot of feelings bottled up, but I started confessing and venting to her. Three hours later, after we both confessed, vented, repented, laughed, and prayed over each other, we went to bed both totally free and healed.
It’s been 7 years since that night with Sharon and she has become my best friend in the entire world. We prayed together almost every night at midnight for about 3 years, held each other to the utmost standard of purity, and were full of intercession for the other. Our friendship was a safe place, not only for the two of us, but also for others around us. Even though we are now 8000 miles apart, on different parts of the world, in several different seasons of life, whenever we speak to each other, our conversations typically begin with “how are you doing in the LORD” and “what has the LORD been teaching you in this season.” The conversation typically ends with questions about any sins that have yet to be confessed in either of our lives. She has taught me the power of confession and accountability!
I am a firm believer in Christian accountability and I have grown tremendously in my faith because of several mentors and accountability partners in my life. You may not have one thrown directly into your life like I did; you may have to seek and search for one, but I promise that it is worth it. Ask the LORD to show you someone that you can be accountability friends with. If you already have one, be intentional about keeping each other accountable. Consider becoming a mentor to a younger Christian and teaching them the importance of discipleship and accountability.
(Also, I recommend same sex accountability relationships because there is a certain level of commitment and closeness that comes with an accountability relationship that can lead to too much emotional attachments with persons of the opposite sex.)