Do not betray another’s confidence. (Prov. 25:9)
“I can’t believe you shared that! That was just between you and me!” To tell or not to tell—that is the test. After all, you know more details, and it could put you in a better light. But, sharing that juicy morsel of information given to you in confidence endangers not only a relationship, but also your reputation. Mom was right when she said, “Think before you speak.” Words spoken hastily bring collateral damage.
Make no mistake: there are times when we must speak—definitely when someone is in danger of harming themselves or others, or in cases of abuse or neglect. But, too often, we speak when we should be silent. If you have ever said, “I probably shouldn’t tell you this,” or “If anyone asks, it wasn’t me that told you,” then there is a pretty good indication you shouldn’t have shared.
We live in a world of the walking wounded—people who carry scars and wounds from childhood, schoolyards, workplaces, and yes, even churches due to words spoken unwisely. Integrity is a lost art in modern culture; we are encouraged to “tell it all” and speak it loudly, without regard to who might be damaged in the wake. God calls us to something higher: to be people who speak words that bring hope and healing, and present ourselves trustworthy.
Choose words to bring hope and healing to the people around you.
Belinda Selfridge is a Wesleyan pastor, Tri-State district administrator, OKWU adjunct professor, motorcyclist, creative frugalist, singer, and bass player.
© 2021 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.