My friend wants me to keep his sin secret. What should I do?
Luke Gilkerson from Covenant Eyes (CE) occasionally sends me questions to answer, which he receives from his readers. I’m humbled he asks and grateful to be able to serve my friends at CE. The questions below come from him.
Mailbag – We often receive questions at Covenant Eyes about the issue of confidentiality. Here are a few examples:
- When I’m an accountability partner for someone else, what is the place of confidentiality and knowing their confessions and secret sins?
- Is it good to pledge confidentiality to your partner or have an expectation of it?
- Does confidentiality have value in the context of confession?
- Are there instances where accountability partners should tell others about a transgression they are privy to, even if the guilty party is against it?
- What biblical principles guide us in this?
The blind side
The word confidentiality is not a Bible word. It’s a word which has been brought into Christian thought. It is important for us to know this because our faith is built and rests upon words (John 17:17).
We must be careful regarding our word selections and how we use them. For example, theologians have stood at the door of the Word of God for centuries to make sure we understand His Word correctly.
They knew the only way we could have faith in God was by His Word (Romans 10:17). Historical theologians have lived and died protecting God’s Word from theological error (2 Timothy 4:6-7). Theological precision has always been a big deal for the Christian.
One of the interesting developments in the past 100 years is how the Christian community has not been as vigilant regarding sanctification precision. While we can be exacting on parsing the Greek, which we should be meticulous, we can be sloppy when it comes to thinking about sanctification.
Sanctification is the outflow or the application of our theology. Do you see the two key points to sanctification–theology and application? Knowledge (theology) alone can make one arrogant (1 Corinthians 8:1). The right application of theology can make one wise (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
The call of God is to not only be a stickler about theology, but we are to be just
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