HOLY SPIRIT: During your years as a pastor, what guideline did I (HS) have you use when I (HS) wanted you to use an event from the life of a person that you knew as an example in one of your sermons?
ME: The guideline was that if the event in the life of the person occurred TEN YEARS BEFORE or ONE THOUSAND MILES FROM WHERE YOU WERE PREACHING, you could use it as an example in a sermon. Holy Spirit had let me know that it was very important to keep the confidentiality of any private conversation that people share with me.
There is one clarification Holy Spirit wants to make about this guideline. When it comes to the matter of intercessory prayer, though many times you may need to keep the name of the person confidential, the prayer request most often will need to be given right after you become aware of a person’s need.
It is good for pastors not to share people’s secrets with their wives. I know some think it makes a good conversation, and perhaps they feel this lets their wives feel a little more included in what the pastor does. Holy Spirit has a very definite guideline to follow in this matter.
The only time that I shared secrets of this type with my wife was when I needed to talk a matter over with someone for some evaluation. The basic rule is that I do not share such secretive things, even with my wife, unless I hear the person who told me the secret tell the same thing to someone else. Holy Spirit has placed a feeling within me that it is important to honor the private and secret things that people share with me in counselling type of situations. Holy Spirit further adds that if I do not follow this I would be a busybody.
Be greatly blessed!
Pastor Paul Silway
God’s beloved whom Jesus loves
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