There was a hit on this blog today where someone was seeking information about what is appropriate to share with a pastor. That is a great question, but I don’t think there is a single correct answer. I think there are many components that feed into the decision such as gender, age, past relationships, interactions and approvals of spouses involved, accountability and visibility of communication by others, subject matter, amount of time needed for sharing the subject matter, and need for professional services (authorities, legal, counseling, etc.).
I think it is easier to define some of what is not appropriate to share with your pastor. This is not a complete list, but rather is a list to start you thinking about the issues from a biblical viewpoint.
- Do not share anything negative about any other person, we are to preserve unity with everyone
- Do not gossip about anyone else
- Do not share information that you do not have direct facts about as you could be sharing misleading or inaccurate information
- If your pastor is not your gender, do not share information that could be viewed as inappropriate between genders (e.g. sexual struggles)
The other question I would challenge you to ask is why you are desiring to share the information with your pastor.
- What are your true, heartfelt motives?
- Do you want to vent about something?
- Are you expressing greed, envy, deceit, anger, frustration, temptation?
- Do you feel you need to express remorse or repentance to your pastor in order to be forgiven of sin?
- Are you seeking Godly counsel about how to resolve an issue and move closer to people and God?
- Are you seeking Biblical direction or wisdom about something?
The counsels we seek in our lives will either lead us to God or away from him. Just because your pastor is a person who is in an identified position of service for God, doesn’t mean that their counsel will always lead you to God. God sent His Son to us, and when Christ died we were given the Holy Spirit as our counselor. First, we should be turning to the Spirit for our counsel. The Spirit knows God’s heart, will, and vision better than we ever will and it will never lead us astray if we follow it will our whole heart.