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CONFIDENTIALITY: WILL YOU TELL OVERTURES

With issues of confidentiality, any move is a risk.

The 15-year-old son of one of our elders, seated before our youth minister, shifted nervously in his seat.

"Look, I need your help," he said. "Can I tell you a secret without you telling anyone else?"

Sensing something serious and wanting the teenager to open up, the youth pastor agreed to keep quiet.

"My dad is a tyrant, and I can't handle it anymore. I got a ticket to Florida, and I'm gone, man. I want you to give me a week and then give my mom this." He handed over three folded sheets of white notebook paper, stapled shut.

The minister tried to change the boy's mind or get him to at least talk to his father first. He offered to mediate and let the boy live in his home until things could be worked out. The boy stood firm and finally left.

The youth pastor felt the far-reaching implications of the decision he faced. He stood eyeball to eyeball with the "Mr. Hyde" side of pastoral confidentiality. Even though he'd agreed not to break the secret, he wondered Shouldn't I tell someone? The parents? ...

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