I am not sure that title expresses the subject I want to talk about here as clearly as I would like. Perhaps the following scripture will do a better job:
2Ki 20:12-17 At that time Merodach-baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent envoys with letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that Hezekiah had been sick. (13) And Hezekiah welcomed them, and he showed them all his treasure house, the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, his armory, all that was found in his storehouses. There was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them.
(14) Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah, and said to him, “What did these men say? And from where did they come to you?” And Hezekiah said, “They have come from a far country, from Babylon.” (15) He said, “What have they seen in your house?” And Hezekiah answered, “They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing in my storehouses that I did not show them.”
(16) Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the LORD: (17) Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the LORD.
There it is. Understand? “They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing in my storehouses that I did not show them.”
And, of course, as Isaiah told Hezekiah, those Babylonians would one day be back and take it all.
Have you ever been too quick to show “all that is in your house” to someone who then subsequently used this knowledge against you? I have. The fact is that wicked people like narcissists flatter us – like the false teachers who flattered the Galatians for self-promoting purposes. And it is really refreshing to find someone who seemingly and apparently genuinely is ready to be a friend.
We must be wise. We need to learn not to be so quick to “show people our treasures” as Hezekiah did. I mean, here comes these Babylonians because, they claimed, they had heard that Hezekiah had been sick. They brought gifts from the Babylonian king and perhaps the ancient version of get-well cards. Hezekiah, like us, really appreciated this kindness and his response was to show them everything. To share his life with them. Mistake.
Now, the truth is that there is no sure-fire answer to the question – “how do we know someone’s real motives?” “How can we know if someone is trustworthy?” But one bit of wisdom is, don’t be too quick to share your life. An evil person will one day use the “treasures” you have shown them against you. As Proverbs says, such a person will one day “reveal” the things they now know about you as ammunition for their own profit.
Pro 11:13 Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.
Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out:
so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.
As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire;
so is a contentious man to kindle strife.
The words of a talebearer are as wounds,
and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
Burning lips and a wicked heart
are like a potsherd covered with silver dross.
He that hateth dissembleth with his lips,
and layeth up deceit within him;
When he speaketh fair, believe him not:
for there are seven abominations in his heart.
Thank you so much for this post! Really hits home. And a situation like this hurts so much!!
May all of us “too trusting ones” walk in God’s wisdom.
This is very good advice, Pastor! As an outgoing person, I have a tendency to share too much of my life and myself with people I don’t know well. And you’re right: it’s not wise. It has come back to bite me and worse, has been used against me. Thank you for this important reminder!!
When my daughters were growing up I used to tell them “be careful who you tell your secrets to! It may be that they may use it against you down the road”. It has happened to me. It has happened to most of us.
Thank you for this, particularly the 2King20 reference.
I went to one of the unnamed churches that cornered you into giving testimonies to groups – reaching far beyond what testimonies are intended to be used for. Needless to say, it gives the wrong person the right information to use and do unthinkable evil with – which I learned the hard way.
Basically, the whole setting was EXACTLY what scripture advises us not to do, and the outcome is precisely what we are told will happen.
Thank you for the reminder!
Like so many of us victims, setting boundaries wasn’t something I was taught. It has taken hard lessons and much practice to learn how to handle self-disclosure.
We also have to beware of written communications.
I think Hezekiah acted out of pride whereas abuse victims out of knowledge about abusers’ tactics. In any case, the enemy uses any weak point as an entering wedge to hurt and pillage.