As I counsel with people I often tell them they need someone in their life they can talk with who will keep their information completely confidential. I probably don’t have to tell you how many people have been hurt by a “friend” divulging sensitive information. It’s hard to find someone who can be trusted.
This whole article could be about the problems associated with not keeping confidence, but today I want to write about how we can keep confidence. Your ministry will depend on whether or not people can trust you. This especially applies to ministers but it also applies to teachers, deacons, and leaders of every kind.
I would suggest that if you can’t know when to talk and when not to talk, you are going to have a hard time in Christian ministry. People need people to talk to and they need to be able to trust. They will go to people they can trust.
What can you do to better keep confidences?
First of all, go to Scripture and let it impress on you the importance of being a confidential friend people can trust. God’s Word always helps us with the difficult experiences of life.
Here are two passages from the Proverbs you may find helpful.
“He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy conceals a matter” (Proverbs 11:13).
“Argue your case with neighbor, and do not reveal the secret of another” (Proverbs 25:9).
Second, determine to get this right as much as you are able. If you want to do right and are determined to do so, you will at least do better than you have in the past. As you practice confidentiality, like anything else you will become better at it.
Third, you can ask God to help you with wisdom to know how to keep confidence. Pray for wisdom and guidance. Memorize and meditate on Scripture. You want your sensitive information kept confidential; ask God to help you treat other people the same.
Fourth, find your own accountability partner to encourage you in keeping confidences. If you know you have a close friend who is going to call you on your “loose lips,” you will be more conscious of how you speak.
Fifth, pray for the people who confide in you and ask God to help them deal with their problem and to help you with their confidence.
Finally, I find that anything I emphasize I am better at. Emphasize respecting people by respecting their privacy and you will be better at keeping confidence.