by Susanne Dietze
Psst. I have a confession.
Are you leaning in closer to the computer? Ok, here goes.
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Something I said recently came back to me, from another party, but the words had been twisted. The information attributed to me wasn’t what I’d said at all. It wasn't malicious, I'm sure. More like an old-fashioned game of Telephone.
Except the information I’d shared in the first place was personal. Nothing sinister or juicy, but nevertheless, something I’d requested to stay confidential. When it didn't, I felt so frustrated!
There’s a reason the Bible is full of verses on taming the tongue: it’s our human nature to gab. But it seems pretty clear God wants Christian to figure out when to speak and when to keep a confidence.
I looked up “confidentiality” in a few dictionaries, and I won’t bore you by listing all the definitions here. But each definition repeated similar words. Privacy. Secrecy. Intimacy. Trust.
Scripture tells us to be transparent and accountable to one another, yet I confess: I can be reluctant to open myself up to others and share private information—it's ammunition someone could easily use to hurt me. I need to feel I can trust someone before I can share with them that I’m struggling with an issue and I need help keeping accountable.
Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered. Proverbs 11:13
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How important is confidentiality to you?
- Do you honor confidence in your relationships? Can a friend tell you something painful and trust you not to repeat it?
- Do you keep mum only if you'll get caught gossiping, but easily share the gossip with “non-involved parties” like hairdressers or manicurists?
- In your family, do your spouse and children feel free to confide in you, assured that you will not share their struggles, fears, and embarrassing moments with your friends?
- If you receive information about a person that shocks or confuses you, do you spread the word or handle the situation according to Biblical principles?
- What about online? If you’re a writer like me, you probably receive a lot of tidbits from various loops. If you copy and paste them into emails, are you violating the author’s confidentiality? Does it cross your mind to ask permission of the author first?
Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9
I don't want to be separated from my close friends, so I'm going to work on keeping confidences where they belong. There are always exceptions, of course, but God's Word is a gentle reminder that He wants us to be trustworthy, faithful, and true blue.
How good are you at keeping a confidence?
Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she writes in the hope that her historical romances will encourage and entertain others to the glory of God. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, travel, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. She won first place in the Historical category of the 2011-2012 Phoenix Rattler, and her work has finaled in the Genesis, Gotcha!, and Touched By Love Contests. Susanne is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency. You can visit her on her website, www.susannedietze.com.