One way you know a friend is a true friend, someone you will always be close to you, is that he is someone you can trust with a secret.
Your friend Temima comes for Shabbos lunch. You walk her out the door and escort her to the sidewalk. It’s a beautiful day, so you keep walking with her. After a while, your conversation turns to Temima’s “at risk” son. “It’s great that you’re so accepting,” you tell Temima. “A lot of mothers would be frantic by now.” “I’ll tell you something, but don’t tell anyone else. I had my own ‘at risk’ days when I was in high school. I know just where’s he’s coming from, and I know he’s going to be all right.”
The next day you meet another friend. She asks if you’ve seen Temima lately. “Oh yes, in fact she came to me for lunch yesterday.” “She’s amazing,” says your friend. “She’s so centered. You can’t imagine anything ever throwing her.”
Temima’s secret practically bubbles up into your throat. You push it down again, knowing it’s her secret and must not be told. In that moment, you’ve won the right to Temima’s life-long loyalty.In the same way, we win Hashem’s life-long love and loyalty when we protect the “secrets” of His children. When we see someone do something questionable or hear information that casts a cloud over someone’s reputation, Hashem says, “Promise Me you won’t tell anyone.” By protecting His secret, we protect the bond that connects us.