Not Mine to Tell

not mine to tellIf it’s not mine, then why tell?

Everybody loves a secret, and everybody, absolutely everybody loves to be the first one to tell. When there’s something we are dying for everyone to know, it’s fun to be the one to spread the tale. It’s especially fun when the secret is shocking or scandalous or contains information others do not know. Yet many, many times, we must not tell the secret because it is not ours to tell. 

People forget to consider whose secret it is, and whose it is to tell. Like my friend who was recently diagnosed with cancer, she called me to talk because she knew I recently had surgery for cancer. I’ve noticed she has posted absolutely nothing on social media. She is choosing to tell her friends one at a time, when she is ready. I know many folks who know her. None of our mutual friends have mentioned her diagnosis to me. Maybe they already know, and maybe they don’t, but I’ll never tell. Her secret is not mine to tell.

The hurt in telling what is not mine to tell

When we were kids, we had a system for being the first to tell. We called it first blabber business. We were kids, and it worked for us, because the secrets we told were not hurtful in the telling. Truth be told, telling someone else’s secret is nothing but blabbering their business. 

The hurt comes in the telling – and not only in the telling, but how it is told and what is told. Often, we share with the intention to hurt. Too often, in our telling, we embellish and speak with authority when we have no authority. In addition, many times we do not have accurate information, although we portray that we do. We seem to think because we listen to the person who talks first, the loudest, and the longest, our information is accurate. Really?!

“Well, she told me . . .   or “Well, I heard . . . “ are common introductions to secrets we tell. The problem is just because I heard or she said does not mean all of it is true. In our interest in having the most current information, we often share half-told truths without verifying content. This is where the hurt is produced. In our pretended portrayal of truth, we are actually intending to hurt, because we like the power of the information we share – and care not whether it is really is true or not.

The bottom line of classified secrets

Whether you’re a follower of Christ or not, telling someone else’s secret is wrong. Many times, the secrets we share are only half-truths. Let others tell their own secrets. You have plenty of your own to tell. I have been guilty of telling other people’s secrets, and I’m not proud of that fact. Before we tell someone else’s secrets, we should stop and think. If we follow these principles, we won’t be guilty of gossip and pain from blabbering other folks’ business.

  • Stop claiming “first blabber business” in the name of concern.
  • Don’t claim you’re not taking sides if you’re sharing secrets.  In your involvement, you are taking sides.
  • Think about the secrets you own and whether you’d want someone to share your secrets – then act accordingly with other folks’ secrets.
  • If the secret belongs to someone else, close your mouth. If it does not belong to you, then it is not yours to tell.

Pinterest Not Mine to Tell

Photo credit: Peter Wibert/

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