Wednesday, September 19, 2007

GOSSIP: CONFIDENTIAL BROADCASTING

This will be the first of many passages over a series to be examined.

Proverbs 11:12-13 He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace. A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.

In this passage, the most important concept to understand here is that it is a revealing of something that was learned in confidence. That is what the word secrets is referring to in verse 13. This is all about retaining the information one has gained in private counsel by keeping ones' mouth closed/keyboard silent. Private counsel does not mean that they came to you for advice or that you came to them for advice. It simply refers to conversation that was held in private or was confidentially shared. The word talebearer is also very germane to understanding the text as well. Talebearer refers to movement about, usually by a human, without regards to a specific destination. Thus the talebearer is one who tells anything he/she knows wherever he/she goes. The idea of a wandering blabberer(gossiper) seems to fit here. This person will tell anybody anything. Continuing with our little word study here, faithful is indeed operative. It means to build up or support, like parents supporting a child in their arms, thus to nurture is also part of the meaning. The faithful do not seek the destruction of the person who spoke in confidence but rather the welfare of that person. And how does the faithful spirit do that? They conceal the matter. They hide the matter. They cover the matter.

Where do we even begin to address the application of this? These two verses are indeed powerful and govern our speech in a rather specific way. They also address the issue of our heart. Why do we do what we do? OR Why did they do what they did?

1. Do we really love our neighbor as Jesus taught us to love? Do we want to see them fall and destroyed or do we want to see them prosper in the Lord? Beyond saying we want the best for them, is it really for the best or is it what fits our agenda and boosts our own egos?

2. Do we see the information gained from private conversation as a leverage? Do we see the possibility of that information being useful as blackmail in the future?(though we would never call it that)

3. Do we listen to confidential talk just to hear juicy information? Is it titillating to our voyeuristic mind to hear the thoughts of another?

4. Do we use the information we've gained in confidence as a stepping stone to our own whims or desires?

5. Do we really love our neighbor as Christ loved us?

Finally, if you do not really love your neighbor as Christ loved you, then you have an obligation not to listen to one who approaches you in confidence! You have an obligation to warn the person who is talking to you that you are not faithful! But all of that pales in comparison to my next question. Do the words, "well done thou good and faithful servant" mean ANYTHING to you? One of two labels fit you here, either Talebearer or Faithful spirit. Which is it for you?

For the second part of this series go HERE.
For the third part of this series go HERE.
For the fourth part of this series go HERE.



EDITED TO ADD:


*NOTE* The following references were used and are used by this writer.
Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament(1980). Harris, Archer Jr., and Waltke.

The Complete Word Study Dictionary, Old Testament(2003). Baker and Carpenter.

6 comments:

peter lumpkins said...

Luke,

Great contribution. I linked it. Hope you don't mind. With that, I am...

Peter

Luke said...

Thank you Peter. I do not mind at all. I hope to address a few Biblical passages concerning this issue outside of the context of all the melee that has surrounded the anonymous controversy. I'll try to post a new one a day during the week but that is contingent upon the Lord's plans for me. It is totally amazing to me what people are arguing for in spite of what I will contend is clearly taught by Scripture. May God truly grant us wisdom.

Ron P. said...

Luke,

Thank you for this wonderful post.

The ones engaged in the sin of this gossip keep avoiding the issue of scripture in this matter.

It is time for repentance, especially by the pastors that are fostering this gossip.

Ron P.

selahV said...

Luke: I couldn't have said it better. This is one of the most needed studies on the internet. I probably have 1/3 of all my posts on controlling the tongue, fingers and thoughts. You've really nailed this on gossip and talebearing! selahV

Luke said...

Ron,

Welcome and thank you for taking the time to comment. My hope is that all who take the time to read this post will walk away with a Godly desire to honor God with their speech. Like the telephone, television and radio, even the internet can be a seed bed for gossip. In essence, that which was to make our lives easier through faster and broader communication will in the end bring more responsibility before Jesus' righteous eyes. That is what concerns me most. May God grant us all repentance and upon such forgiveness where we have been party to such. God's grace be upon you.

Luke said...

V,
I think I am going to end up using this as a series in the church here where I pastor. I think that a lot of our conversations are made up of more of this then we realize. I can tell you that this sure has me examining my own speech and thoughts. I think I am getting the picture that there are many more times where I should just keep my mouth shut and I am seek for the wisdom to know that BEFORE I have already opened it. Thanks for the link to your site.