There are many people in this world that are followers of Christ but find it very difficult to share their burdens and their problems with their Christian brothers and sisters. These people are either very private or they have had the misfortune of being betrayed by someone they have trusted with their heartaches. These are usually the ones who ask for "unspoken" prayer requests. What a shame that we can't trust those in the family of God!
Other Christians not only share every heartache they have or have ever had,
but they tell everyone they come in contact with. They seem to have no
problem with everyone knowing their problems, but one would think they
would become weary at some point. We must understand that some just
have this need to talk through things.
Then we come to the third Christian. This one is selective about who they talk
to about their burdens, and tells only the ones that are believed to be trusted
to pray about it, which is the main reason to share. This is where yours truly
I once was a long time member of a ladies' weekly bible study group. I was a
new Christian, and also the youngest in the group. The rest of the ladies
were older, wiser, and some had faced some of the problems that I was facing
at the time. I relied greatly on their insight and spiritual wisdom. There was
an average of about fifteen women involved in the group, so it was clear to
me that I was taking a bit of a chance by telling these very personal problems.
One day I was passing the pastor in a hallway and we stopped for a short
visit. At some point, I said something about asking for prayer in the group
about something. Pastor hesitated a moment, then said, "Shirley, I think you
tell too much."
"Why do you think that?" I asked him.
"Well, you can't always be sure things stay within the group. And
then sometimes they might discuss between themselves what you have
told them." You could tell he was trying to be as careful as possible not
to accuse anyone, but just to caution me.
"I'm very aware that that could happen," I confessed, "and I've given it a lot
of thought. If anyone in the group feels the need to talk about me or
my problems, and if they want to talk about me when they are together, I have
no problem with that. Actually, it's not for me to deal with. What they do or say
is God's problem, not mine. I need prayer. My family needs prayer. So, I am
going to share my problems where I should be able to share them, in my
church family. I hope they pray for us. I think I know the ones who will, and
the ones who won't. But, I trust God to remind them, and I know the faithful
ones will pray."
"Well, I thought I should mention it."
And, of course, he should have. But, I will always be saddened by the fact that
he needed to do it. It's very important that those of us who are believers
remind ourselves that none of us has arrived yet. We are all still striving to
attain that goal, but we won't be there until the day He takes us home.
So, let's cut each other some slack, and then focus our minds on being
as Christlike as we can be. Taking care of me is quite enough work.
If you wish to keep your problems to yourself, then you should do so.
But hopefully, you will find someone to whom you can share and ask to pray
with you. If you choose to tell many, or all you know, again, fine. But, maybe
just a little discernment would be enough relief. The question we should
address is Am I Trustworthy? not Who Can I Trust? When we sweep our
own front step, as my mother always use to say, then it's the first step in
getting the whole world clean. If I'm taking care of me, and you're taking care
of you, that's when we are better prepared to pray for each other and share
our strength in support.
(As always, there are always exceptions and "what ifs" to deal with. Who you
trust must be your decision.)