Keeping Good Secrets
"A bird in the sky may carry your words, and a bird on the wing may report what you say." - Ecclesiastes 10:20
When we are surprised that someone knows a secret, we might hear them say, "A little birdie told me." Sometimes that can be a pleasant way to share that we know something special is afoot, but that phrase can also be a way to shift responsibility for a secret that hasn't been fairly kept.
So it is good to observe the caution in this column of wisdom from Ecclesiastes: Don't share what's not yours to share. The wise author of this passage knew that talking about things that should be kept discreet can lead to trouble for a person who likes to gossip—and to anxiety for the person whose private information isn't respected. It can be nerve-wracking to consider how the sharing of private details or secret thoughts might damage one's reputation or relationships. Instead, it can be far better not to repeat a person's secrets at all.
James 3 notes that the tongue can be like a spark that sets off a forest fire. Even just a little gossip can do a lot of damage. And Jesus taught that everyone will need to give account for every careless word they have spoken (Matthew 12:36).
Let's be careful to speak wisely and faithfully, honoring God and our neighbor in all that we say. "Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech" (1 Peter 3:10).
Lord Jesus, by the presence of your Holy Spirit, give us wisdom and discretion. Guide us to keep our tongues from causing harm to others and ourselves. Amen.