Should I keep this secret?
There is a story about a man who in his youth married a beautiful woman. They were married in church. They were blessed with several children. The husband was doing very well in his career. He went to town as he got a very high position in his company. After sometimes, the wife, who was not well taken care of, did not appear, to the husband, to be good enough for the task of being a big guys wife.
The visits from the husband reduced. He had landed on a more 'presentable' woman. Because of the distance from home and the lack of modern Telcom devices, he was able to marry this lady. He invited some family members for the wedding celebration who kept the secret for him that he is already married in the church. Was it right for the relatives to keep this secret?
Charity exercised in secret is everywhere appreciated and loved. Jesus praises such secret acts in his sermon on the mount.
“when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that your alms may be done in secret and your heavenly Father who sees the secrets will reward you…whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your father who sees in secret will reward you. ( Mt. 6;3-6).
So keeping secret is something very good if it is for a good purpose.
Keeping secret is also considered to be a sign of prudence in certain occasions. Sometimes hiding is better than uncovering. In the Old Testament, Genesis 37, Joseph could not keep his spiritual secrets.., Gods revelations of his future through dreams. He probably said them to show off, or innocently, but his brothers ended up selling him to slavery because of Jealousy.
In the book of Judges 16, Samson reveals to Delilah, his deceitful lover, the source of his strength. Was it the right decision for Joseph and Samson to reveal their secrets? Definitely not. They should have kept quiet.
In New Testament we see Jesus ordering his disciples to keep secrets. One Example is in
Matthew 16:19-20 “And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.” Then he sternly warned the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.”
He advised them not to tell anyone he was the messiah, I think, because it was not the right time yet.
Many people have lost their dignity in the society because their failures have been broadcasted.
Proverbs 26:20 says, “For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.”
In the catholic church people cherish the sacrament of confession because of the secrecy the ministers of that sacrament keeps. We also go for counseling trusting that counselor will keep the confidentiality. If this was ever to be broken, then it would prevent people from going for confession, or counseling.
So keeping secrecy is something great. Isn’t it?
Does this mean that we should always keep secrets of everything?
Not at all. As I told you keeping secrets is some virtues and sign of prudence. But certain times not revealing the secrets can become an evil action. Certain times Christian charity demands the exposition of truth.
Ephesians 5:11-12: Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.
Some, people, like in the story above, take advantage of secrecy to promote or support sin, and to make others to participate in the sin. St. Paul warns us not to be part of deeds of darkness, but to expose such acts. This is because of the effect that they have on the family, the community, or the church. But our ultimate goal of exposing an evil committed should be done out of perfect charity and with utmost prudence.
Bible describes how we should go about it:-
Mathew 18:15-17 If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
The decision we should make to reveal or hid a mistake or failure should be based on the ultimate good of that persons involved. In the story I gave, the people who covered up the truth about the church wedding of that man in fact made the eternal life of that man in danger. They should have exposed that truth and stop that man from cheating another woman and destroying his marriage covenant.
To be sure of the right decision, we have to pray for Gods wisdom.
St. James 1:5 “Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
So, in unclear, sensitive issues, seek wisdom, from Holy Spirit.