When It’s Too Much To Share

Three anonymous questions:

– Hello Pastor Park, Quick question: How much should you share in small group? God wants us to be transparent and vulnerable but some things should be kept between you and God to keep intimacy with Him, no?? I am always encouraged by reading your entries! I learn so much through you teaching God’s word. Keep it up!

– I have been pretty honest about my struggle with porn on my blog because I think girls need to talk about it, but recently my boyfriend has gotten upset and asked me to disclose less information … Is he justified in saying that or is he being paranoid?

– Is the point of confessing your sins to each other as it says in the book of James only for accountability and community purposes? Why can’t someone confess only to God? … I had a friend who was rebuked on sharing something personal, so I’m confused as to when/ in front of whom is it appropriate to confess.

Hey friends, this is an excellent question that I often ask myself too.  I’ve been accused of being “too open” on my blog and when I preach on Sundays, and it’s a tough balance to know exactly when it’s TMI.

As always, I believe it comes down to one simple thing.

What is your primary motive in sharing your heart about these things?

When I first became a Christian, I was sort of the oddball in the group because of my sketchy past.  When we shared in Bible study, I would confess crazy things about streetfights and porn addiction and drinking binges, and the group would be fascinated.  The pastor would feel proud that I had been rescued out of a life of sin, and the others would love my thrilling stories.

But I was confessing these things out of a selfish, prideful, attention-hogging heart.  I loved it when people reacted with jaw-drops and looks of affirmation.  I even loved it when I told better stories than “I grew up in church and got saved.”  It was a terrible thing, and it took me a long time to see it.  It’s much less of a problem these days, but I still pray through these things to maximize God’s glory and humble myself.

You’ll really need to wrestle with your motives on this one.  While motives are a messy thing, we usually know what we’re doing when we set out to do it.  You secretly know if you’re just trying to get attention.  I can hear it in the voice of the vain shock-and-shlock preacher, the guy who confesses his criminal record during testimony time, the lady who continually victimizes herself in a self-pity-party.  It’s not hard to tell.

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