I’m Here for You Day 4: Keeping a Confidence
“Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent. Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.” (Proverbs 11:12-13, ESV)
“And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.” (Luke 2:50-51, ESV)
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12, ESV)
Have you ever shared confidential information with someone you thought you could trust and suddenly everyone in your circle knows what happened? Your heart sinks and you start to panic because they promised not to tell anyone and now it feels like everyone knows your secret. It really makes you want to just close off from the world, doesn’t it? Conversely, having a trustworthy friend makes you feel safe and secure. You feel like no matter what you share with them, they will be kind and understanding. You can share anything with them. That’s because a good relationship is built from trust.
Betraying a friend’s confidence can be detrimental. When you share information that was not yours to share, it can cause major damage. The bond of trust you once had with that person is now broken and you are no longer a safe person for them to confide in. They stop sharing parts of their life and they start to pull away from you. When people repeatedly betray your trust, it can cause you to shut yourself off from the world. The more times a person experiences someone breaking their trust, the less they trust the world around them. They begin to feel as if no one is on their side. Instead, they bottle up the feelings they once freely shared and isolate themselves from an unsafe world. This may sound dramatic, but it’s true. When a person has no one to trust, they feel alone. This is why you must be that trustworthy friend. Keep what is shared with you confidential even if they don’t expressly request that you do not share the information. We all need a safe space to share our worries, fears, failures, and sufferings, so why not start by being that safe space.
How can you be a trustworthy friend? Have an open mind and closed lips. Be open to hearing anything from a friend. The hardest things to share are the things we fear we may be judged for, but these are the things we need to share. We need to share our shortcomings with friends so that we can get help or have an accountability partner. No matter what it is, you must be that friend who listens with understanding. Even if you don’t understand the situation, you can understand that everyone has faults and they are still deserving of compassion. Give to them the patience, compassion, and understanding that you would wish to be given as well.
My challenge to you today is to find opportunities to be trustworthy. When a friend opens up about a mistake that they made, even if it is seemingly minor, do not dismiss them or make a judgmental statement, but rather listen with a heart of understanding. Be a safe space for them to talk openly, and keep that conversation between the two of you. Reassure them that this information will stay with you just to give them peace of mind. Remember, open mind and closed lips.