The Gossip

A gossip separates close friends. King Solomon

Some time ago, a small boy was playing outside his house near an open window. Inside, his mother sat listening to her dear friend pour out her heart concerning something that her son had gotten himself involved in. Later, after the friend had left, the mother realized that her son must have heard the conversation.

"Son", she said, "if my friend had left her purse here in my trust, would it be alright if we were to take her money out and spend it?" Her son quickly said that it would not be honest, to which his mother replied, "You are right. But today, my friend left behind something of far greater value: A confidence. She has entrusted us with that confidence and it would be just as wrong to misuse that trust as it would be to spend her money had she entrusted us with her purse".

Would that every one of us could learn the lesson this wise mother passed along to her son. How many times have we been the victim of a loose tongue, suffering the embarrassment and humiliation of a trust betrayed? Indeed, I wonder how many times we have caused great harm to a friend, by innocently passing along something said to us in confidence.

When it comes down to it, there are few things in life that seem so insignificant as passing along a juicy piece of private knowledge, and few things so harmful as the consequences created by doing so. I guess we all have wished that we had been a bit more prudent when it came to safeguarding the confidence of a friend - especially on those occasions that we realized, too late, that we had deeply hurt that friend. Maybe, if we all looked upon these trusts that we are given from time to time in the same manner that we view the responsibility of holding something of physical value, we would all not only save ourselves from embarrassment, but we would also become something quite rare in this world: A good friend!

A gossip betrays a confidence, so avoid a man who talks too much. Proverbs 20:19, NIV