The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
Parents and teachers used to punish tattlers. God still does! Tattling is now a forgotten sin. But God remembers and punishes it! Tattling is talebearing, the spreading of injurious or malicious reports about another person. They cause deep wounds in men, which makes those telling them guilty of murder, because the sin is based in hatred.
This proverb’s wisdom was important enough to have a twin (Pr 18:8). Repeating the rule today will be valuable, for backbiting, gossiping, slandering, talebearing, or whispering are not condemned anymore. For reporters today, talebearing is falsely called journalistic liberty, or even duty. For fools, it is “letting you know the truth about so-and-so.”
God does not care if what you tell about another person is true or not – both are sins. If you tell something false about another person, you have slandered them. If you tell something true, you are a backbiter, talebearer, and whisperer. God hates all three. Talebearing is telling secret facts about another person to defame or hurt them (Pr 11:13; 20:19), so do not think you are innocent because you know the information is true.
Of course, you have not heard or read anything against talebearing in a long time. This generation is addicted to it, because there is little restraint on wickedness or wicked men. Tabloids, newspapers, news programs, and news websites all race to discover whatever secrets they can find about anyone and spread them as far as possible. It is a journalistic objective to make money from the salacious lusts of a hateful and wicked generation.
Every man has secrets – private matters – such as sins, faults, failures, losses, a firing, a criminal record, a bankruptcy, his salary, a divorce, a disease, or even a birthmark. They are his secrets, and no one else needs to know them or should know them. To tell even one person that does not absolutely need to know for God-given reasons is talebearing (Pr 11:13; 20:19). It is violent raping of another’s reputation out of envy, hatred, malice, or worse. It is your duty before God to protect anyone’s secrets as if they were your own.
Where does the vicious and vile desire come from to spread secrets about another person? It comes from pride, the devil’s sin, to exalt yourself at the expense of another. If you can make him look bad enough, then you might appear virtuous to fools or talebearers like yourself. It also comes from hatred, which is the devil’s work in the first family, when he moved Cain to kill his brother Abel, simply because Abel was the better man.
Telling secrets about another person deeply wounds his heart and soul, which is intended by “belly” (Pr 20:27). There are truly two wounded – the one having his reputation hurt by the report and the listener having his opinions sinfully altered (Pr 16:28; 26:20). God will severely punish these verbal murderers (Pr 26:20-26; Ps 55:21-23). Since Christians should not include such men (Ps 15:3), tattlers are obviously going to hell (Rev 21:8,27).
Reader, you have two duties. First, you must avoid and reject talebearing yourself. How? Regard the reputations of others with Christian charity and love, and protect them with holy zeal. Carefully say only good things about others, especially when they are not present. God will see your efforts to protect and build others up, and He will bless you.
Second, you must reject talebearers from your friendship or church, for they are poison to the souls of men and destructive to the unity of a church (Pr 25:23; Ps 101:4-5). God hates these wicked souls that sow discord instead of unity, and you should hate them as well (Pr 6:16-19; Ps 139:21-22). Get angry about their sin and drive them far away.
Instead of being a talebearer, be a praise-bearer! Rather than spread bad things to hurt a person, spread praise to build up his reputation. Instead of being a backbiter, be a back-kisser! When others are not around, tell lots of good things about the person. Imagine the result if those that know you only said good things about you in your absence. How can you get this blessing started? Tell someone today something good about another person.