My first question is this: I know that you're supposed to have trust and be open to your girlfriend and everything, but are there things you can and should keep to yourself?

For example, two nights ago she broke up with me (we're back together now) so I went and talked to my brother-in-law online. I was hurt and needed someone to talk to. He said, don't worry, God will show you an amazing woman. Then he mentioned a girl from my church who isn't married yet and said, maybe she would work. I thought about it and even went to look at a picture of her to remember her and I basically cringed at the thought of dating her. I thought, no way! She isn't right for me. I don't even want to think about it.

My brother-in-law was saying how my parents and half of the church, after finding out I had broken up, would think of this girl for me right away. I didn't like how he said that, it made me sad.

Now, I don't want to tell my girlfriend this. She would automatically think, "You moved on so fast and you're starting to think about other girls. I can't believe your parents feel that way, and this and that." I would just cause problems and pain for me and her. The thing that gets me is that she and I have been building a relationship by telling each other everything. I know that she doesn't tell me every little thing that goes in her mind and that goes on in her life. Sometimes you can't control your mind, especially when you're hurt. So how does that fit in?

Don't know if it's just me, but I feel like this heavy conscience is telling me, "Tell your girlfriend EVERYTHING!" And it's so annoying because it won't solve anything! It will only make her think bad things about me, my parents, brother-in-law, and the church. It was something small, but she will take it as something big. But my conscience keeps telling me to tell her and it's so annoying. I don't know if I truly do need to tell her or if it's Satan trying to put things in my head just so our relationship can go down the drain. You know?

Basically, I make things bigger than it is in my head. It can be any little thing. I'm sure she doesn't tell me everything. Like, about the picnic, I asked her before, "Who are you hanging out with?" She mentioned a girl and said she played volleyball with her. She never mentioned talking to some guys. If she would've asked me that and I would've said, "Oh this guy and we're playing video games," but I know that if I also talked to a girl, my mind would KILL me saying, "Tell her everything! Tell her every detail! Tell her everything!" And I hate it.

I am praying to God to help me because I don't want to go on with this relationship like this. It kills me, and because it kills me, I tell her every detail and because of that, she gets so mad because I make it something bigger than it really is, you know?

My second question is more serious. A while back my girlfriend and I fell into sin for about three or four months. We sent pictures and videos to each other of things we shouldn't see, and did things on the phone we shouldn't have done, etc. We are good now. We haven't done that in a long time and we are firm with this.

Anyway, my question is: I know God has forgiven me and her and now we're good, but is it necessary to confess to anyone else? DO I need to confess to my parents, family, etc.? If I would do that now, they would force me to split up with her and they would never respect me and stuff. Especially my father. My father and mother messed up too with each other bad, but they still wouldn't bear knowing that I did those things. I am willing to confess till after I'm married because, indeed, it's something I can help other people with that may be struggling with the same thing, you know?

One day my mom was talking to me and she said, "It's a good thing you're over there and she's here because then you guys can be far from sin." I just thought, "You have no idea what you can do in long distance."

So I don't know. I just wanted to know your viewpoint. I believe if you confess to those who will help you and encourage you and pray for you, I think it's good, but if it's just to bring problems over something that's in the past and that God has already forgiven me for, I don't believe it's necessary. What do you think?

There is this concept that being truthful requires telling everything that you know. When someone is hurt by what we say, the excuse given is, "Well, it was the truth!" As if that makes it fine to hurt another person's feelings.

Lying is always wrong (Revelation 21:8), but one can be truthful and not say everything. For instance, good old Aunt Bertha might come in wearing a dress that is the ugliest thing you ever saw. Does that mean you have to blurt out, "That dress could frighten away snakes!"? Solomon said, "Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles" (Proverbs 21:23). Self-control in regards to our tongue means not saying everything we think -- truthful or not.

Jesus did not tell his disciples everything, though he did intend for them to learn things later. "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now" (John 16:12). Though he didn't tell them everything right then, it doesn't mean he wasn't truthful.

When Samuel was sent to anoint David as king, he was worried that Saul would find out and kill him. "And the LORD said, "Take a heifer with you, and say, 'I have come to sacrifice to the LORD'" (I Samuel 16:2). The Lord gave Samuel a second purpose for going to Bethlehem. He was well within His rights to ask for a sacrifice. The fact that Samuel only needed to mention that he was there to offer a sacrifice that the Lord asked him to give, doesn't mean he was lying or being deceptive. Other people did not need to know the primary reason for his visit, so he did not bring it up.

You should be truthful with your intended. But being truthful doesn't mean you don't have to be careful about what you say. You need to weigh each item in the balance of: 1) Is it true? 2) Is it kind? 3) Is it needful? If it doesn't pass those three tests, it may be best left unsaid.

For instance, let's say you had a moment of weakness, saw a pretty girl and lusted after her for a moment. You came to your senses and prayed to God for forgiveness. Now, is there any benefit to your girlfriend knowing you slipped up? Actually, no there isn't. Bringing it up would undermine your relationship. You knew it was wrong and repented of the sin, thus it would be best not to keep the forgiven sin in the open but to bury it. "He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends" (Proverbs 17:9).

Now if you had sinned in the past that might impact her future, then those things do need to be discussed. For instance, a person who had committed fornication and has, say herpes, would need to let his fiance know because she needs to decide if she wants to live with the risk. In the same way, if there is a child born out of wedlock, the partner needs to know because you might have to pay child support or the child might show up on your doorstep. While knowledge of these past transgressions will undermine the relationship -- at least for a while -- they are needful for the other person to know because the consequences have not ended for you. If the other person becomes a part of your life, they will also be sharing the consequences with you. They need to take on that burden by choice and not by force.

The same goes for confession of sin to others. If you look at the instructions for handling fault between two people, Jesus instructed, "Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that 'by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.' And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector" (Matthew 18:15-17). Have you ever thought about why there is a three step process to resolution? The reason is that if a problem is solved between the two individuals, then no one else ever needs to know that the problem existed. If it can't be resolved, then others will be needed to help, but again, if it is resolved, no one else needs to know. It is only when it remains an unresolved issue does it get brought to the general attention of the church.

Why? "Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins" (Proverbs 10:12). "Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins" (James 5:19-20). This is not saying that love hides the sinner. There is the assumption that the sin was repented of. Love for another hides him from the embarrassment of his sins.

You and your girlfriend repented of your sins of passion and lust. You confessed your faults both to each other and to God (I John 1:8-10). Bringing others into the matter after the fact is not a loving action. It will ruin the reputation of both her and you. I could give you numerous examples from both my life and others of how not following this teaching of God has ruined lives and people's potential for doing good. Ultimately, talking about another's past sins is just another form of gossip.

I understand the motivation behind it. You sinned. You know you've done wrong. You feel that you ought to be punished in some way because of what you did. Deep down you feel that you had gotten off too lightly from your sin. In essence, you are trouble over the fact that God was merciful to you. Don't be like the unmerciful servant and not do the same for another (Matthew 18:21-35). When you don't let a forgiven sin remain buried, you haven't truly forgiven yourself or another of that sin.