Rules of a Godly Life: Secrets
Number 5, from section 2 (WORDS), in Rules of a Godly Life:
Confide to no one your personal secrets unless you have beforehand found him to be worthy of your trust. Here is one way to prove him and learn to know him well: confide to him some secret of small importance; if he keeps it to himself it is an indication of his trustworthiness. However, it is not wise to inform any friend carelessly of all your secrets. There is a possibility that at some later time you may have sharp differences and then he may use his knowledge to your harm.
That makes a lot of sense to me. We all need to be more careful about what we tell others. I have heard many stories change as they get repeated to others when they should not have been repeated at all. So this is a very good rule!
Reminds me of the old saying “Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.”
“There is a possibility that at some later time you may have sharp differences and then he may use his knowledge to your harm.”
Some FRIEND! (Where’d you find this guy/gal?) 😉
Sage advice, and just plain common sense, if you ask me (though I know we’re suffering quite a shortage of the latter these days!)
Forest, how true! (Thanks for the chuckle!) Now, every time I walk through a cemetery, I’ll be wondering…! 🙂
Reply to Alice Mary
Alice Mary, I wanted to share with you my experience of trusting too much.
Many years ago the woman I thought was my best friend knew I had a crush on a man of our acquaintance. I’d let it slip. Mind you, my friend was married to a great guy…but a 2nd friend mine had warned me never to tell my best friend about this crush.
Good advice from the 2nd friend who is now my very best friend because I have tested her with my secrets, and she’s never let me down. The original best friend went after the man I had my heart set on. God eventually let the poor guy escape from both of our clutches (lol) and we former girlfriends went our separate ways.
I only speak to that 1st friend now to stay in contact with her adult children whom I adore still.
This is something my mother told me a long time ago. that’s what I love about the Amish everyday life: they use common sense and right thinking without trying. It just comes naturally because it does make sense!
A saying from World War II: “Loose lips sink ships.”
It’s good when ministers and their wives can keep secret an upcoming engagement when needed. Sometimes we need to use discretion on what to say.
Years ago, I used to walk every morning with a relative, and, of course, we talked about anything and everything about our kids, husbands, etc. During one of our long discussions, I mentioned a funny story about my husband and mine’s “personal time”. That Sunday, with all the relatives around the dinner table, she proceeded to pass along my comments. Everyone had a good laugh, husband was a good sport about it, but I learned NEVER to tell her anything personal again!
The Secret That Spread
Two similar quotes about secrets:
“To know that one has a secret is to know half the secret itself.” -Henry Ward Beecher
“Whoever wishes to keep a secret must hide the fact that he possesses one.” – Johann von Goethe
What makes us want to share a secret?
“The vanity of being known to be trusted with a secret is generally one of the chief motives to disclose it.” – -Samuel Johnson
Back in 1996, this poem was in the May-June newsletter of Christian Printing Mission (C.P.M.) Publishing, Ohio.
The Secret That Spread
by Fannie Streicher
A good friend shared some secret news,
I thought it was quite great,
I was so very thrilled by it,
I almost could not wait
To tell my two friends which I knew,
I’d see tomorrow night.
But when I really stopped to think
I knew ‘twould not be right.
A secret is not to be told,
To even one or two,
And if a trust, is broken thus,
The harm that it could do,
My mind began to reason on –
If I told just two friends,
And they, next day, each told two more,
Where would the gossip end?
If all the people down the line
With every passing day,
Would tell the news to two good friends
To speed it on its way.
If this continued for a week,
Do you believe it’s so?
A hundred, twenty-seven souls,
The ‘secret’ then would know.
And if it thus would multiply
Until two weeks have passed.
(This figure is so very large
My mind can barely grasp,)
For there would be sixteen thousand,
Three hundred, eighty-three
Folk who would know this piece of news,
‘Twould no more a secret be,
And as this tale was passed along
From wagging tongue to tongue,
I’m sure it would not be the same
As when it had begun,
If each had changed it just a bit,
‘Til it was no more true,
Oh, to my innocent dear friend,
What damage it could do.
But I would likely shake my head,
And say, “It is a shame,
That folks should like to gossip so
As if it were a game.”
Why one should start a tale as that
I really could not see,
Yet I would be so very sure
It couldn’t have been me!
Thanks, Lin! That poem is a “keeper”! I hope IT’S not a “secret”, ’cause I think it NEEDS to be passed around!
(I like the other quotes you included, too.)