Jump directly to the Content

Strain of Confidentiality

To talk or not to talk - that is just the first of the questions.

Pastor Kathy, can I come over? I have something to tell you," Monica asked. I was glad she was coming soon; such phone calls create a sick feeling in my stomach. Was it serious? Anything I had done?

The phone rang again. My husband Roger inquired about my day.

"Monica's coming over to talk to me."

"What about?" he wondered.

"I don't know."

Soon the doorbell rang, and I let Monica in. We sat on the couch, facing each other, while she played with the buttons on her shirt. Her eyes focused mostly on the floor.

"I don't know how to say this. Do pastors have to keep things confidential like priests do?" I reassured her that I would keep her concern confidential.*

"I've been having an emotional affair. It didn't get physical. Well, mostly not. I'm just not sure if God will forgive me." She raised the ideas of venial and mortal sins she had learned in her Roman Catholic upbringing.

I told her of God's promise in 1 John 1:9 to forgive whatever she confessed. Mildly reassured, she continued.

"Do I tell ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

How to Gauge the Closeness of a Group
How to Gauge the Closeness of a Group
Analyzing conversation patterns can show how much a group trusts one another -- or how far they need to go toward true fellowship.
From the Magazine
Who Will Pay Africa’s Medical Bills?
Who Will Pay Africa’s Medical Bills?
Locals are increasingly running African mission hospitals. The next challenge: keeping foreign donors.
Editor's Pick
When Churches Put Love at the Center
When Churches Put Love at the Center
How "beloved community" helps us envision tangible ways to embody kingdom values.