I once shared confidential information with a woman I trusted and within two weeks those private facts came back to me through the mouth of a mutual acquaintance. As more and more details surfaced here and there, I realized my mistake. I couldn’t trust the woman as a friend and reduced our relationship to one of hello and goodbye.
Keeping information secret has made the national news in recent weeks. A scientist purported to be a spy for a secret agency was executed by his government after his identity was leaked through sloppy handling of classified materials. The FBI was said to be upset when more private details about the operation of our country was broadcast to millions of viewers on national television. Though I can’t prove or disprove these facts, it does make me wonder how many people have been harmed through the careless management of sensitive material. Who has died to satisfy the selfish ambitions of another?
In Leviticus 19:16 (NIV) we are told not to go about spreading rumors about others. “‘Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the LORD. “ Putting someone in harm’s way because of your inability to remain silent is clearly in opposition to God’s perfect plan.
In Proverbs 11:13 (NIV) God calls the talebearer a gossip. “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.”
Proverbs 26:22 (KJV) warns of the consequences. “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.”
Are you a faithful friend? If someone says, don’t share this, do you keep their confidence? People’s lives are not always open books. Can another count on you to protect their private news?
If you are dependable, God will count you as a true friend—one who loves at all times (Proverbs 17:17). What greater blessing is there than that?