He who covers a transgression seeks love,
But he who repeats a matter separates friends." (Proverbs 17:9)
Confidentiality is critical to maintain relationships of trust and love.
How many times do we share personal and private information about someone? Later they find out that we have done so and they are very hurt by it. As Christians we can be hurtful without realizing it and even be well meaning.
Sometimes we tell others about private information that has been discussed with a lost person with whom we were sharing our faith. Sometimes we share private information in the form of a prayer request for a person in trouble. Sometimes we divulge private information about a person for whom we have prayed that has won victory over a sin area in his or her life. If we aren't careful we can even share private details about someone else in the form of a praise report.
When a person tells us something that is private and personal, we should consider that information a sacred trust. We should only repeat that information with the person's permission. The person who tells us things in private may not always preface it with, "Don't tell anyone else this!" However, he or she may very well assume that we will know "not" to share that information.
I really believe that many Christians go around suffering in private pain because their trust has been violated before and they don't feel they can trust anyone with their personal problems. They end up suffering, struggling, and stumbling ... alone!
Consider these other verses in Proverbs:
A talebearer reveals secrets,
But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter. (Proverbs 11:13)He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets;
Therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips. (Proverbs 20:19)Debate your case with your neighbor,
And do not disclose the secret to another ... (Proverbs 25:9)
Many people have been hurt by well meaning Christians who have repeated private and personal information. In the future, let's remember this and keep things shared in private as a guarded trust.