PROVERB PRACTICALS Have you heard the Latest?, Proverbs 11:13, audio
Proverbs 11:13, A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.
I worked for the United States government for 25 years, both in the military and as a civilian.
In both capacities my job required me to have a security clearance.
As an navy officer, a top secret clearance was required because I served at the Atlantic Fleet Headquarters in Virginia and was involved in war plans.
But as a civilian I was given only a secret clearance where my duties were such as to not have the top secret status.
I have been out of government service so long that I know nothing of value today so anyone listening on the internet do not plan a kidnapping if you want to learn government secrets, for I have none.
But in order to receive these clearances I had to be judged trustworthy of knowing military secrets and not revealing them to unauthorized persons.
My background was checked, friends and neighbors, co workers and supervisors were interviewed by the FBI to determine my trustworthiness.
Now in government service for those who hold clearances the rule is that you only are to know secrets that you need to know in the performance of your work.
Not every secret of the U.S. government is sent to every clearance holder.
Unless you had to know a particular secret in order to perform your job you were not privy to that secret.
People who hold top secret clearance do not run from desk to desk asking whether or not youíve heard the latest secret.
Ears are not to be perked up to hear of government secrets being revealed at the next desk.
In other words there is a need to know policy in the government regarding secrets.
But as in any system there are failures as we have seen recently in what is called Wiki-leaks.
A young man in the army has failed his country by passing out secrets to unauthorized people and there is now a worldwide talebearer going from desk to desk asking the question, Have you heard the latest?
But the government policy of need to know is based upon Biblical principles as we see in our proverb today.
A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.
The faithful have mouths that are under control which means those who are not faithful tell secrets to those who have not the need to know.
The word talebearer is composed of two words, tale and bearer.
The word "bearer" means of course to walk from place to place while carrying a load.
In this case the load is a tale but not any tale but a secret tale.
He or she who bears this tale certainly must believe the tale is of great value for much time and energy is used in its transmission to many people.
Now you have heard of the word monger associated with a fishmonger, a cheese monger, a milk monger.
Monger means a trader or dealer.
Apply this word to a talebearer and you will have a scandal monger.
A dealer who specializes in scandal.
Have you heard the latest?
His product is scandal or the secrets of others and by spreading this product he wishes to ingratiate himself to others by providing juicy tidbits upon which they may dine.
The word revealeth is interesting for it means to make naked, especially in a disgraceful sense.
It means to open up or uncover in shameful detail that which is desired to be kept secret.
Now tale bearing for the sake of tale bearing is a breach of love for it is designed to turn one from another.
For the talebearer makes no effort to satisfy the need of another but simply delights in knowing what others donít know.
He or she delights in passing it to others of like mind for tale bearing takes two, not only a mouth but a willing ear.
The talebearer cares nothing about his neighborís name or honor and as a door to door salesman hawks his wares of scandal in order to lift himself up on the back of another.
He couldnít care less about separating chief friends and is not admonished by Godís word that says in:
Proverbs 16:28, A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends, and in:
Proverbs 26:22, The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
The story is told of a young man during the Middle Ages who went to a monk to ask what he should do to repent of his sin of slander.
The monk instructed the young man to put a feather on every doorstep in town.
When the young man returned, the monk instructed him to go back and pick up all the feathers. "But thatís impossible," cried the man, "By now the wind will have blown them all over town!"
"So has your slanderous word become impossible to retrieve," replied the monk, "though you are forgiven, you can never retrieve the damage you have done."
Trying to recall your words is like trying to recall a stone thrown into the river for neither stone nor words will return regardless of your pleas or prayers.
This is one prayer God always answers with a NO!
Now if you lend your ear and your laughter or interest to the talebearer you should consider that as easily as the talebearer makes naked your neighborís secrets to you, that easily will he open up your secrets to others.
Governor Perry of Texas, in one of the debates touched on a similar subject when he said that a man who will cheat on his wife will cheat on his business partner, or anybody.
And that holds true with a talebearer for the talebearer is only concerned about him or herself and not the welfare of others.
Check yourself in this matter.
Are you a gadabout spreading rumors or lies or secrets about others.
Is your ear readily available to talebearers?
If so you are complicit.
The crime is only committed with the mouth transmitter and the ear receiver to receive the message.
As the old song says: It takes two to tango.
And if you doubt this try tangoing by yourself.
One of the things I remember teaching my children was that what is said at home stays at home.
I did not want my children opening up to those outside to private family matters.
Perhaps they hear Mom and Dad engaged in an argument.
That shouldnít be told to others.
There are things that have been spoken in confidence that should stay in the family.
Teachers, you have a great responsibility to be circumspect about things your students tell you that their parents would not want others to know.
Now of course when there is a reason for you to act on things that you are told you must act for the good of the child.
But some children are prone to tell everything and who better to tell than their teacher.
But when you learn of matters at home that you do not need to know you must work at keeping it to yourself lest you too become a talebearer.
Think of the good of the child and think of the welfare of his or her family when you are told things that bear not on your responsibility as a teacher.
Remember the talebearer works at his craft.
He has an ear that is designed to pick up juicy topics.
He or she has much time on their hands and is like a worm attracted to the food of scandal.
He is like a gold miner looking for that lode of golden rumors with which to feed on and relish again and again as he passes it along to willing ears.
The body of Christ is not immune.
But in the body of Christ the juicy tidbit is usually told followed by the loving phrase "Bless her heart or Bless his heart which certainly is designed to calm our conscience.
It is like throwing a bit of meat to the dog to stop the barking.
But nothing is new under the sun.
The modern mantra of humanists that says:
Every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better" is not true for even in Paulís day that problem of talebearers was present in the church.
Read about Paulís instruction to Timothy concerning some women in the early church:
I Timothy 4:18, And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.
Now instead of wandering they speak things by texting.
This is especially true nowadays with young people.
And Paul being even handed, did not exclude men for in:
II Thessalonians 3:10-12 he writes, For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. 11For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. 12Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
What an interesting contrast Paul uses here.
Working not at all he calls them busybodies.
How can you be busy and not work is the riddle.
The answer is obvious when you see how busy a mouth can be.
The talebearer delights in roaming the countryside with his wares while the things in which he should be engaged, things that have value, things that could be done for the Lord, go undone.
Now we move on to the contrast given to us in the last part of our Proverb.
but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.
For as usual the Proverbs tell us how it should be.
We are not left to bemoan the fact that there are talebearers but we are given the admonition not to be such but to be a faithful spirit who instead of revealing secrets is one who conceals the matter.
This faithful spirit is one who is wise and that wisdom will come forth and tell when a matter is to be concealed.
Proverbs 16:23, The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.
And along with this admonition to be a faithful spirit is the inferred command to choose your friends carefully lest you become the ear that is readily open to the tales.
You need to choose a friend to whom you can speak in confidence knowing that what is told will proceed no further.
Knowing what is told to a friend like this will be pondered by that friend in order that right counsel or comfort be given.
Pastors must be this kind of friend for they are called upon to hear much that must be kept close.
Knowing one whose spirit is such will give rest instead of stress for the matter cautiously revealed will be kept concealed for a well governed spirit will have a well governed tongue.
The well governed tongue is directed from good treasure of the heart for as Jesus told us and recorded in Luke 6:45:
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
Make sure everyday you make a deposit to that treasure for like a bank account if regular withdrawals are to be made there must be regular deposits.
Bread is best eaten when it is fresh every day.
Proverbs 11:13, A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.