The Venom of a Talebearer – Proverbs 11:13

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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The website The Wartburg Watch 2014, posts a heartrending article entitled, “When Pastor’s Breach Trust: My Testimony of Betrayal.” The author gives her testimony about pouring her heart out to a new pastor as she sought refuge in his church. Some time later, she shared her concern when a convicted pedophile was attending unsupervised. The pastor responded with coldness and curt greetings. Then he contacted her former pastor, divulged confidential information, and later shared the same with others in the church. The result was devastating hurt. We live in an age when slander, gossip, and false accusations are frequent in tabloids. People in the media seem to think they can act this way without consequence. Unfortunately, believers too often mirror this kind of conduct today.

The Bible is not silent on this issue. Proverbs 20:19 describes those who don’t keep confidentialities: “He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets….” This truth is emphasized by repetition. Proverbs 11:13 explains, “A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.” It has become commonplace, even in Christian circles and by leaders in ministry, to immediately spread whatever dirt they hear. They often dig for information with probing questions. Proverbs 16:27 describes the character of those who practice this sin: “An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.” It is as simple as that. It is ungodly and sinful to betray confidences, spread rumors or lies, or make inquiries so one can gossip. The consequences of this action are found in the next verse: “A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends” (16:28). Proverbs 18:8 says: “The words of a talebearer are as wounds…” Many have lost friends, and many stop attending churches when talebearers weave their evil web. Once such intentional hurts are inflicted, the relationships are irreparable.

God’s solution to this problem is in Proverbs 26:20: “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.” Have you been guilty of being a talebearer? If so, honor the Lord by confessing this to your victim. This will deter you from repeating this sin. When others come to you with tales about someone else, tell them you want both of you to immediately call this person to inform them about a rumor being spread at their expense. This will be a deterrent to others. Let’s stop the cycle of tale bearing.

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."