Watchtower 9/1/1987 pages 14-15 "A Time to Speak"-When?
Thinking Ahead Employers have a right to expect that their Christian employees will ‘exhibit good fidelity to the full,’ including observing rules on confidentiality. (Titus 2:9, 10) If an oath is taken, it should not be taken lightly. An oath makes a promise more solemn and binding. (Psalm 24:4) And where the law reinforces a requirement on confidentiality, the matter becomes still more serious. Hence, before a Christian takes an oath or puts himself under a confidentiality restriction, whether in connection with employment or otherwise, it would be wise to determine to the extent possible what problems this may produce because of any conflict with Bible requirements. How will one handle matters if a brother or a sister becomes a client? Usually such jobs as working with doctors, hospitals, courts, and lawyers are the type of employment in which a problem could develop. We cannot ignore Caesar’s law or the seriousness of an oath, but Jehovah’s law is supreme. Anticipating the problem, some brothers who are lawyers, doctors, accountants, and so forth, have prepared guidelines in writing and have asked brothers who may consult them to read these over before revealing anything confidential. Thus an understanding is required in advance that if serious wrongdoing comes to light, the wrongdoer would be encouraged to go to the elders in his congregation about the matter. It would be understood that if he did not do so, the counselor would feel an obligation to go to the elders himself. There may be occasions when a faithful servant of God is motivated by his personal convictions, based on his knowledge of God’s Word, to strain or even breach the requirements of confidentiality because of the superior demands of divine law. Courage and discretion would be needed. The objective would not be to spy on another’s freedom but to help erring ones and to keep the Christian congregation clean. Minor transgressions due to sin should be overlooked. Here, “love covers a multitude of sins,” and we should forgive “up to seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:21, 22) This is the “time to keep quiet.” But when there is an attempt to conceal major sins, this may be the “time to speak.”