Monday, April 11, 2011

Proverbs 11 - Can You Keep a Secret?

"A talebearer reveals secrets,
 But he who is of a faithful spirit 
 conceals a matter."
 ~ Proverbs 11:13

The girls at school didn't like me. When senior year arrived, one of them confronted me on the sidewalk. "Why don't you ever talk to us? What's your problem?"

I never answered her. I walked away without responding. Inside, however, my thought went something like this: Maybe it's because every time I ever talked to you, you took whatever I said and turned it into a blazing fire of gossip. I don't talk to people I can't trust. 

Girls can be horribly cruel to one another. And for what purpose? So they can get ahead, usually. Gossip is a web of lies and fabrications woven by those who have low self esteem, who have to push others down so they rise up in social status. For some reason, girls think this is cool. 

I don't.

What's even sadder is that it happens in churches today. Women can't keep secrets. I've heard of several accounts where a woman takes something personal to another woman in the church, expecting the Christian response of sworn secrecy. "Promise you won't tell anyone." They bring their deepest issues to counsel, who they hope they can trust to keep it behind closed doors. They don't want their dirty laundry aired for all to see. And yet, women in the church can't keep their mouths shut, and on Sunday morning, half the congregation is staring at Mary Jane, and she's wondering why...

As a ministry leader, I get this Proverb. No one wants to talk to someone who is going to share their secrets with everyone in their group of friends. Many women have come to me because they trust me; they know they can tell me something without it going anywhere else. I make it a point to mention that before they talk, as well. Because I know the pain that comes with revealed secrets. I know the embarrassment and humiliation one feels after being exposed.

I wouldn't want it to happen to me, so I would never do it to another. It's the golden rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated.

You may find you have a friend for life.

Does this mean you never share someone's struggle with suicidal thoughts with someone else? Say, a Pastor or Psychologist? No. There are some secrets we don't keep. Use wisdom. If someone's in true danger, that's not the secret to keep. But be open and honest with them. Tell them that because you love them, you must get help for them. And walk them through it.

What do you say? Can you keep a secret?

Photo courtesy of Israel Papillon

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