Sunday, March 26, 2017
Should Christians have secrets
By Hayley Boud
As Christians we are taught that we shouldn’t have secrets and that we should be transparent. But is that what the Bible says?
I remember when Odon first came to New Zealand and he prophesied over each of us who were present in the meeting. He then told us not to tell anyone what was prophesied because it was just between us and God. Does that mean we were being secretive and not transparent?
It made me think of the story of Joseph in Genesis 37:5 onwards. Joseph had a dream and then he told his brothers. He dreamed that they were binding sheaves in the field and his one rose up and the brothers’ sheaves bowed down to him. His brothers were angry at his dream and hated him. He then had another dream and told his brothers again. This dream was about the sun, moon and eleven stars were bowing down to him (he had eleven brothers). His brothers again became angry because Joseph was saying that not only will the brothers bow down before him but the parents would too.
In verse 10, the brothers rebuked him. In verse 11, they were jealous. Joseph made himself appear proud, while he was not. Was it necessary for him to share this dream? Couldn’t he just keep it to himself? By sharing it, he caused others to stumble, he caused others to hate him, be jealous and later this hatred caused his brothers to want to kill him.
Another good example from the Bible is in Matthew 2:1 onwards. After Jesus was born, magi arrived in Jerusalem saying, “where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east, and have come to worship Him”. When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled and he called the magi to find out the time the star appeared. Herod had all the male children in Bethlehem, 2 years and under killed. Had the magi just followed the star without spreading the news, those children may not have been killed.
We have to be careful to know what to share and what to keep between us. We have to remember that when we share information, this can be a stumbling block to others. It might make them angry, jealous, hate someone etc. We have to think carefully about our reasons for sharing the information, e.g. gossip, lack of self-control (speak before I think). We have to think carefully about the consequences of sharing that information, will it cause the other person to gossip, be curious, complain, judge others. As Colleen said in her recent message, be slow to speak and quick to listen.
Colleen’s recent message reminded us that we need discernment and wisdom. We need to have discernment and wisdom before sharing information.
Recently, I was really disappointed in myself for sharing information that someone had told me not to. I let that person down. I betrayed their trust. Even though this person and I are not best friends, I knew I had failed the test.
If someone asks us not to share information, we should respect that. Maybe they have a good reason. Maybe God has told them that this is not the right time for others to know yet.
I hear many Christians say that they don’t keep secrets because, “the truth will find you out”. That is very true that eventually the truth will be seen. However, we have to wise and know when to share information and sometimes it’s not up to us to share it but for people to discover on their own. I used to have a boss who was horrible to work for but he had everyone fooled into thinking he was an amazing guy. People would say to me, “you are so lucky to work for him”. I couldn’t tell people he was horrible but eventually they discovered on their own.
I have aims and goals that I keep to myself because maybe God doesn’t agree with them or maybe I’ll change my mind. It looks foolish when you tell people that you have decided you are going to live in Auckland next year and then you don’t. People will judge you for not doing what you said you would.
I don't think there is a single Christian who is completley transparent. If we are honest with each other, we will know that is true. So why do we Christians who are not 100% transparent tell other Christians that they should be? I’ve never read a verse in the Bible that says I have to be transparent in front of others.
There is a great Bible verse that says, “Walk in the light as He is in the light”, 1 John 1:7. Walking in the light exposes us. For example, my light in my bathroom is dull so when I leave home, I think I look great. My light in the bathroom at work is very bright so I get a shock when I see my true reflection. Where did all those wrinkles come from?
We need to walk in the light so we can see who we truly are and to keep walking in the right direction. Walking in the light does not mean sharing everything with everybody. We need wisdom and take time before sharing to ask ourselves, if I share this, how will others react? With jealousy, judging, selfishness, anger, unforgiveness.
A good example where we need to be wise is when we know we have wronged someone and we know we should say sorry. Be careful not to share too much. The person may not even know you wronged them and you may create a problem that never existed. I usually say, “I’m very sorry I wronged you”. If they say, how? I say, “If you don’t remember, then praise God because you have already forgiven me” and I leave it there. It’s not a good idea to create a problem.
Let's remember to think carefully before sharing information and let's not judge others when they keep information to themselves.