A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret. Proverbs 11:13
After 18 years of marriage, Doug walked away. “I just couldn’t trust her,” he said. “She was always mad that I wouldn’t talk to her, and I don’t, because she would tell things I’d told her in confidence. I can’t stay married to someone I can’t trust.” Barry had the opposite problem. He couldn’t keep his mouth shut. Gossip was to him the juiciest morsel, a way of gaining attention. When he knew something about someone, all eyes were on him and for just a brief moment, he felt important. What he didn’t know was that no one wanted to get very close to him. Everyone feared betrayal. In the end, the very thing both Doug’s wife and Barry most desired—intimate relationships—they could never find.
We don’t like to think of ourselves as gossips, so we camouflage our delight with spiritual terminology. We share the secrets of others disguised as “prayer requests” or asking for advice. What we don’t realize is that when we do that regularly, we develop a reputation for being untrustworthy. People may enjoy hearing our juicy news, but they will refrain from sharing their lives with us for fear we will gossip about them. Even in families, there are private issues that deserve respect. Each member needs to know that his or her private lives, mistakes, and challenges will be kept private by the rest of the family. A family should be a safe place where each member can fall, get back up, and start over without the whole world knowing about it.
How trustworthy are you? Is your home a safe place where everyone’s private lives are protected?