“A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.” Proverbs 11:13
There is much said in the Bible about the sinfulness of tale bearing. God uses different words in describing the tendency to bring harm to others with our words. The word “talebearer” is used only six times in the Scripture. But then, we also find the use of words such as slander, whisperer, tattlers, backbiter, evil speaking, etc. All of these terms are used in reference to sinning with our lips and using words as damaging weapons toward others.
In considering this form of wickedness, we should ask ourselves what harm words can cause. The answer is obvious. A great deal of damage can be inflicted because of evil conversations. It hurts the one who is talked about, the one who is doing the talking, and all who hear. Proverbs 18:8 says, “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.” They hurt, they wound, and they cause severe damage. Words that are spoken against us or against others may remain in our memory for a lifetime. They hurt emotionally, spiritually, and socially. Reputations sometimes suffer irreparable damage by critical words.
Perhaps the most destructive force in the Lord’s churches is the power of negative or malicious words. This should not be so. Imagine how much stronger our churches would be if words were used to build up rather than to tear down. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” God wants our words to be healing, not hurtful.
Why are the words of professing Christians sometimes so unkind or vengeful? It must be because of anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, and hatred that are allowed to remain in the heart. Our words reveal in many ways what is in our hearts. When we love someone and want his life to be blessed, our words will not be evil toward him. If we have forgiven others as we have been forgiven, we will not curse them with our lips. One reason for tale bearing is because we want to see people hurt.
As Christians, we are to love others the way Christ loves us, and we are to forgive them as we have been forgiven. When our hearts are right with God and others, our words will not be full of bitterness and wrath.