Gossip has evolved over the past century. It has moved from being shared under the mango tree in the village where men gossip over palm-wine or by the riverside where women gossip while washing clothes to sharing virtually on social media networks in recent years.
Quite obvious is the fact that keeping secrets is becoming difficult. We are pressured by friends who want to hear gossip. Celebrities are attacked by fans who want to know what they are up to. Parents are at the neck of teenagers because they want to know what secrets they are hiding.
Yes, I agree that secrets are confidential information that someone divulges to a person or people they can trust. So, that means, keeping secrets are a way of justifying the trust of a friend. But for some situations, secrets must be divulged. To some people, secrets must be told to save lives. To God, we must not hide our secrets.
This article is written to help us with questions we should answer before choosing between keeping a secret to oneself or sharing with others.
Should secrets be kept from God?
God is omniscient (all-knowing). When Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the Garden of Eden for example, he asked, “Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”, God wanted them to come clean with him. He wanted them to divulge their secrets and not hide.
That’s exactly what he asks from us. That we do not hide our sins.
He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.Proverbs 28:13
We will agree that Jesus asked several people, who he healed, to keep the miracles he had done secret.
It means that secrets can and, at some point, should be kept but we should not keep secrets from God especially sin (Isaiah 1 vs 18).
What to bear in mind while deciding whether to keep or share a secret as teenagers:
1. Who are you divulging the secret to?
Samson was born to rescue Israel from the Philistines. But he had a secret- the source of his seemingly unlimited strength and power. Delilah, a Philistine woman, disturbed him for the secret. He misled her twice, I guess he was hoping that she would give up but she kept pushing him. When he told her his secret, she used it against him. He was captured and his eyes were gouged out.
So, who are we telling our secrets? What’s the basis by which you judge the trustworthiness of a friend before divulging a secret? Can you be trusted with a friend’s secret and not stab her in the back?
2. What secret are you divulging?
Let’s imagine that your friend tells you about his mental state or the fact that he’s been fighting suicidal thoughts for a while, and he thinks he will stop fighting soon. What should be your approach?
Someone might say, he should be prayed for. Another, he should be persuaded to tell his parents. But what if you, his friend, tell his parents. Or contact a psychologist or mental health specialist that he could talk to?
Always think about the secret. Is it harmful to your friends or family if you keep the secret to yourself? What are your motives for sharing the secret?
3. When are you divulging the secret?
Esther didn’t reveal her nationality to anyone (Esther 2:20), bidding her time to save God’s people. (Esther 4:13, 7:3-6). She kept her secret, anticipating a situation where it would be needed as an advantage. She saved thousands of Jews because she kept the secret that enabled her to dine with the King.
God should be involved in the making of our everyday decisions including what secrets to divulge, who to divulge to and when to divulge them.
That means, there’s no one-shoe-fits-all when it comes to sharing or keeping secrets. Pray for God’s leading.
Sometimes, secrecy is not the best option. It is the only option. So what if God says, “Wait” or “No” or “Yes” to the divulging of that secret?
In all, obey God.
What do you think about secrets? Have you ever gossiped and felt guilty after? What secrets have you shared that made a positive difference?
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