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Being a Secret Keeper

Question: My friends tell me secrets, but I’m very bad at keeping secrets from my best friends, especially if it's about them. What should I do?

Answer:

This is a tough situation for you to be in. Keeping a friend's confidence is an important part of maintaining trust as a friend. Proverbs 11:12-13 says that "a man of understanding holds his tongue. A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret." Keeping certain secrets is important, especially if it protects another person. Keeping other secrets, such as if you suspect a friend is suicidal, could actually end up causing harm. Ask God to give you wisdom if a secret truly needs to be shared (James 1:5), otherwise, the honorable thing to do is to keep the friend's secret.

Keeping a friend's confidence when they tell you a personal secret (like they have a crush on someone) shows integrity as a friend. Jesus was both human and God at the same time, and He was tempted just like we are, yet He never sinned (Hebrews 4:15); that is what integrity is all about. Jesus behaved perfectly, was completely truthful, and good things always resulted from whatever He did.

If you find it hard to keep things from your best friend, the best thing to do is to stop things before they start. Example: Friend A starts telling you how she feels about Friend B.

Friend A: So, can I just tell you that I’m really into Friend B. He’s just so—

You: Um, if it’s okay with you, I’d rather not hear about that. He’s my best friend, and I have a hard time keeping things from him, so it’s better if I just don’t know.

Some people may be more understanding than others, but at least you’ll be clear with them up front. I know it’s a tricky situation, so I also recommend that you ask God for wisdom in how to best communicate with all your friends! James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

As far as what you already know, try not to tell your best friend what was said about him, since it was shared with you in secret. Another way to think of Proverbs 11:13 is this: Those who talk about others will tell secrets. But those who can be trusted keep the secrets of others.

In the future, do your best to avoid getting in these situations by refusing to listen when people want to talk about others behind their backs! May God help you stay clear of gossip while still being able to love all your friends as He would have you love them.

—Sarah R.

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By: Sarah R.

Sarah is a wife and mother whose favorite things (after Jesus, family, and friends) include books, languages, flowers, and travel. She is thankful for the opportunity to minister to people through the written word!