Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Keeping Confidence

“I can keep a confidence. It’s the people I tell it to who can’t.”—Unknown Origin

In case you do not know I never (hardly ever) promise to keep a confidence before I hear the story. I may promise to keep a confidence after I hear the story. And I do keep confidence. I determine which ones I keep, not the persons who share it with me. This lack of promise on my part is not the same as gossip, although it could be gossip.

We have requirement to tell something to the assembled believers if someone is unrepentant. The assembled believers are then to take action on this unrepentant believer (Matthew 18). If I have promised to keep the information secret I have hobbled myself so that I cannot obey God and tell the church.

Many years ago a professional person came to see me. I did not know him although I knew of him. He wished to tell me something awful about a common friend but first I must promise to keep it confidential. I told him that I did not make those kinds of promises. He was astounded. I was a minister of the gospel. I had to keep confidence. I agreed, but I determined which ones I kept after I heard the story, “Well then I cannot tell you.” “That is all right with me. I do not need to know.”

A repeat of what I just said kept happening. Each time he got angrier. Finally, in hysterical anger he left, slamming the door. In anger he told someone else what an idiot I was. This opened that person’s eyes about the angry man’s character. I never did find out about the evils he wanted to tell me.

That is the best way.

1 comment:

Valerie (Kyriosity) said...

It's been said that God gave us two ears and only one mouth, so we should listen twice as much as we speak. But He doubled things again, giving us two index fingers to stick in our ears plus two feet to walk away from things we shouldn't hear.