Sin always aims to cut us off from others. Usually, the most difficult temptations are most fierce when we are most isolated. That makes the, “just call me” advice either a long-forgotten platitude or a seemingly insurmountable mountain at the moment. Calling a Christian friend in the heat of temptation is often the last thing I do.
I am responsible for my sin. No one else is, not my friends or my circumstances. Of this there can be no mistake. Yet, my friends are responsible to love me.
In WWII, the German Luftwaffe was left to putting boys with 30 hours of flight experience into immediate combat. They experienced an almost 100% failure rate. It was an injustice to send up those young men into those fierce skies. They needed training, mentorship, accountability, instruction, and help. Was it the fault of the flight instructors and Luftwaffe senior officers if these boys died? Well, not immediately. They were not in the cockpit. But no one would doubt they bore part of the blame.
In the same way, when it comes to my sanctification, I am responsible before the Lord, but I need my brothers and sisters to bear something of the burden. They are God’s secondary vehicles of truth to me (the Word of God, mediated through the Spirit of God being primary). That means at one level, the best Christian friends will learn my patterns of sin and rather than wait for me to call them, they will call me. Probably when I least want to hear from them.
This is much harder than putting the responsibility on the offender. It requires me to pray for my friends, involve my life with theirs, and at one level, take responsibility for their actions. Maybe that is where the rub is? Do I really want to have to deal with your stuff as well my own? Love says yes.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25, ESV)