With reality TV, confessional blogs, and autobios written by people who have barely lived (* cough* Justin Bieber *cough*), it seems as though there’s a rising trend to bare our souls to the world and have them do what they will; and Christian youth are also riding along.
The older generation understood the value of secrets, they clutched onto their darkness and desires so tightly that even if they wanted to spill, they wouldn’t be able; and if they did spill, they wouldn’t have been believed. Yes, there are the stories of the pastor who impregnated the secretary who was the wife of the head deacon, brother of said pastor, but the reason that these stories make church headlines is because they’re unusual. Think about it, average doesn’t make news because average isn’t interesting. I’m not saying that we should follow the footsteps of our predecessors, after all it’s likely that it was pride that kept those secrets so deeply buried and pride will separate us from God but we do need to be careful.
There seems to be a competition for ‘best testimony’ and everybody seems to be going up against each other to prove that the place they were delivered from is darker, damper, colder than the next person’s, and this is dangerous. The point of a testimony is to lead people to God. If you’re main objective for sharing your testimony isn’t to show how God has delivered or what God has taught you, you need to rethink your objectives & don’t share your testimony. *shock* *horror* *outrage* Did I just say that? Yes, yes I did.
You need to know your motive before you share your testimony, what is the central focus? If the central focus is that you were a drug addict & not that God has delivered you, then don’t tell your testimony. What is the point in telling people “Hey, I’m a drug addict” without the “I’m learning what it means to trust God/have faith/God delivered me, etc.” bit? All that will cause listeners to do is gossip, and I’m sure that majority of us are aware of the notorious church gossipers, who will not only drag your name through the dirt but hang it on the notice board under “Trespassers”. At the end of the day, gossiping is a sin and therefore doesn’t please God, so the last thing you (should) want is for people to sin because of you. As Christians, we should be “our brother’s keeper”, every individual decision we make affects somebody, somewhere, so we need to be cautious.
Yes, I know, the Bible encourages us to confess our sins to people (James 5:16) BUT the main point of that text is to confess to these people, then you all pray in faith. In order to pray in faith, you must believe, so this text isn’t saying confess to any-old-body. God will show you those you can talk to if you ask him. Some things are meant to be kept between you and God, and that’s absolutely fine, He isn’t going to tell anybody.