Keeping Secrets

By Janet Walgren 

I once heard of a boy who was sent to a meeting to spy on a group of men that wanted to take a person’s life. The boy was counseled not to take any oath of secrecy at the meeting. This was a heavy burden to be under. However, the boy complied, returned and reported, and the person’s life was saved.

As a child, I used to recite a poem whenever anyone would ask me, “Can you keep a secret?”

When people tell a secret,

I often wonder why,

If they themselves can’t keep it,

Why make me even try?

There are many types of secrets. Some secrets are just plain fun. Others are serious confidences when, if revealed, are capable of destroying someone or something. The destruction could be either good or bad depending on the nature of the secret and the guile of the person telling it. Why ruin a surprise party to celebrate a birthday? On the other hand, you would certainly want to ruin a surprise terrorist attack. So how does one properly respond to the question, “Can you keep a secret?” What do you teach your children?

Here are some rules to help one keep their integrity:


1.   Don’t make blind promises. The first line of response is the statement, “It depends!” Let the person asking the question know that you do not keep bad secrets, that you will sing like a canary if needed to protect lives or liberty, that you are totally unwilling to enter into a secret combination to protect wrong doers.


2.   Next ask, “Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it true?” This question will eliminate secrets in the gossip category. The key to this question is getting a two out of three response. If it is kind and true… tell on! If it is necessary and true but not kind, negotiate a solution to enable the necessary part.


3.   Make your standards known: let them be a light to the world, and turn it on bright! If your standards are good and your integrity above question, the mere fact that this is known to the world will repel evil, peer pressure from the unrighteous seeks easy targets. Enemies of righteousness seek weak targets and work in darkness.


The world is being flooded with personal secrets, corporate secrets, political secrets and national secrets. Some of these secrets are good and necessary, some are dangerous secrets kept by groups forming secret combinations that destroy life, liberty and livelihood. You may think that a secret combination will never involve you in evil. You may have no intention to ever be involved, but you never know when danger will present itself on the doorstep of your sanctuary.


Have you ever been asked to lie, cheat or steal? Don’t wait until the stakes are high and your life, livelihood, liberty or the lives of your loved ones are at stake. Plant your stake in the ground and stand for truth and righteousness. Then, when evil surrounds you, no one will ever dare ask you, “Can you keep a secret?” Instead, they will do everything to keep you from discovering their secret’s awful truths.


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