Within the past few weeks, there has come word to Jerry and me of inappropriate behavior of one of our friends–not a really close friend, but one we have known for many years. The alleged action of this person is so far out of character for him, that as we discussed it and surrounding issues yesterday, I said to Jerry, “I don’t believe it.”
It was in recent years that I became aware of this scripture, and immediately on reading those words, they struck a chord inside me.
“He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.” Proverbs 17:9
Whoa! You mean if I hear of someone doing wrong, I should not talk about it? Are you sure? Shouldn’t I let people know what is going on. No, we shouldn’t, and yes, I’m sure.
Should you persist with: But, we don’t want sin in our church, and God hates sin, and I’ll just tell a couple of my friends so we can pray about it. That’s it, I need to spread around the word so we can take the matter to God in prayer. We should not do that, and yes, I’m sure.
A couple of reasons to closely follow these enlightening words lie here:
1. The story as it has been told is most likely not true in every aspect.
2. It’s probably none of my business, and my knowing or not knowing will likely not make a significant difference in the outcome.
3. If it is true, the person at fault may see the error of his way, and correct the situation.
4. You can’t “unring a bell.” When a negative thought or idea of someone is put in my mind, to one extent or another, that thought is always there. That certainly isn’t fair, for it may turn out to be a false accusation.
Now, having said that, it’s important to read another scripture. It’s down just a ways, verse 15.
” He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.”
So, yes, the time may come when wickedness is revealed, and it’s at that point that God warns…don’t pat that person on the head, don’t justify or excuse them. For such mindset is an abomination to the LORD.
Admitted too, is that there are times, when, depending on the nature of the situation, and my relationship with the accused or with the issue that it is appropriate–even necessary–to discuss the matter. Let me always guard my spirit, though. Let me grieve over the misstep of the fallen, and may there never be found an inkling of “well, she’s been warned before, he deserved it, or told you so.”
Help me God. Perfect in me the spirit of shielding–of hiding–of covering–the transgressions of those who today may be faced with great struggle in their walk with Humanity and with You.
22 thoughts on “Close My Mouth”
It seems to me that the passage is speaking more to gossip than confrontation of the individual.
Yes, I believe the scripture concerns gossip–a bane among some church groups.
Has it been your observation that incidents of gossip far outweigh the godly, caring confrontation of one who has done wrong?
Yes it has been my experience. Some seem to see it as a ‘spiritual gift’ unfortunately
Curtis, I fear it’s the human condition. To be very frank, I find it much easier to get snagged by a gossip session, than to have the courage and true concern to lovingly confront someone.
Last night at our Wednesday night Bible Study service, Pastor Hurst told us a little story that pertained to what he was teaching.
When he was 19 years old, he went to a meeting with his father-in-law (Rev. Murray Lane). At this meeting Rev. Lane’s character was attacked because the men there disagreed with his opinion. (“This”, Pastor Hurst said, “Is called, judgmental.”). They were driving home from this meeting and Pastor Hurst was waiting for Rev. Lane to say something to defend himself to him, because he KNEW it wasn’t true, the things they said about Rev. Lane.
But, Rev. Lane never said a word to him, he only prayed. And when he prayed, he said,
“Oh, God, help me not to fail, for there are those who trust in me.”
What a good reminder is that story. There is usually no need for us to defend ourselves, although sometimes we must. Our honest, godly lives are the best defense…for finally, the truth will be revealed. Might be a little long in coming, but in the end, Truth will triumph.
I’m thinking of several verses of scripture here:
Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. – Ecc 5:2
A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter. – Pro 11:13
For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. – Ecc 12:14
And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. – I Peter 4:8
(I’ve been wordy, haven’t I?) God Bless!
Not too wordy, Tommyjoe. Thank you.
You are not alone. It is easy to get snagged. Even easier because, at least in my workplace, it is part of the culture. We talk behind peoples back all the time. Even today I am guilty though I read this recently.
Very thought-provoking, convicting and needful post. It brings to my mind a bible study taught to our church over 20 years ago by my former pastor, Jerry Cates, regarding gossiping and tale bearing. It was called “Defilement from an Evil Report”. He likened gossiping to spreading an infection. How right he was! I remember him saying that if you’re not part of the problem, then you’re not part of the solution. I like what Paul said to the Ephesians: “Let no corrupt communications proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Ephesians 4:29 God help us all to practice this scripture.
Bless you Sis. Karen! I too remember “our” Pastor Cates teaching that lesson. And to this day I still utilize the wisdom handed down to us all those years ago.
I share that insight with my wife Carlita so she can protect herself from the spirit of…”back-biting”.
Miss Pastor Cates so much, and truly wish he were around.
Hey in any case, it was good seeing you and Mike on the east coast! We loved it!
That fact that you remembered the title of the lesson is incredible Karen.
Thank you for this response to a very old post and comments, but still of great truth. God bless and keep you always.
Just for the record: That is Pastor Jerry Cates of Christian Life Center at 336 E. Travis Blvd., Fairfield, CA 94533. Then husband of Linda, & father of Terry & Timmy Cates. A loving, genuine, sincere and anointed man of God, full of the HolyGhost and of wisdom.
He is certainly in the loving hands of God resting in the bosom of Abraham.
Bro. John “Buddy” Knight (then husband of Renee, & father of son’s Mark & Brandon Knight), was the anointed teacher at CLC of FF, CA, called of God to teach. And teach he did, with great circumspection of scriptural reference, using the scripture to prove the scripture. One amazing man of God! Love you brother Knight, wherever you are, and miss you dearly.
-Bro. Ben Simmons, father of Misha Lauren Simmons-Kelbatyrov
CURTIS, it makes it easier to go to bed at night, after we have spent a “human” day, to recall that several places in the Bible indicate that “His mercies are renewed every morning.”
KAREN, I wish Jerry Cates were alive to hear you remember a study he taught 20 years ago. You have an amazing memory. He was an amazing preacher.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
First, thank you for publicizing this neglected Bible truth. You hear it sometimes, but not often enough.
Second, thank you for reminding me of the need for discretion and integrity.
Jesus taught us how to handle these situations. The wronged person or the person who knows of wrong is to confront the offending party face to face. (When people try to gossip to me, I ask them if they have taken this first step.) The person may repent all on their own, as you mentioned. If not, then the accuser is to take two or three witnesses (not necessarily witnesses to the offense but people who can act as arbitrators). If that is not successful, then they take it to the leaders of the church.
The goal is to involve as few people in the matter as possible..
If we would just follow this process so much hurt and heartache could be avoided.
Hi, Shirley, I, for the most part, constantly experience false accusations and judgments made on me. Honestly, it has come to the point where my relationship with my own mother has been somewhat affected. One of my siblings of whom I have not been in speaking terms with for sometime now, and who is always around my mom, constantly looks for negative things to telll my mother about me, my family and even my kids. I would only later on discover the things she tells my mom when my mom would confront me about the issues, and the source, would be this sibling of mine! If the issue was about me and it was untrue, I could easily tell her the truth, but if it was about a member of my family, I would politely tell my mom that I would investigate, and correct the mistake. But what makes it hard on me is that I begin that feeling of hatred for this sibling of mine. And hatred always makes me a very weak and vulnerable person. I have prayed and prayed to God for months and months to release me of this hatred, but everytime it happened, it felt like a wound that was being rubbed over and over again. But God answers prayers, and somehow these days, I am beginning to feel a little bit of peace within me. I continually pray for peace within me. I l love my mom, I love my family too. As a mother, it just hurts me so much when false accusations are made especially on my children who are doing all they can to be in my midst all of the time just so nothing would be said against them by people outside our own home.
This is a difficult situation, and I’m not sure if you are asking me for advise, but I’ll go ahead and tell you a couple of things to try, if you want to.
1. Have you approached the sibling who speaks falsely? I would do that in a sweet, but firm way.
2. Refuse to hear accusations from your mother that someone else has told her. Say, “Mom, I appreciate your concern, but if (sibling) has something to say about me and/or my children, they need to say it to me. Otherwise, it is gossip.” Hug your mom and change the subject.
3. Pray sincerely for the sibling. Do something nice for him/her. “Heap coals of fire on his/her head.” That person is probably jealous of you and your family.
4. continue to ask God to give you peace. Don’t dwell on this subject. Think about God, your children, your husband, God’s work. Be out and about doing good.
5. Finally, when criticism is offered, always honestly look at the criticism; is there truth there? If so, try to correct the problem
Hope this helps.
Yes, Shirley, I needed your advise, thank you so much. We had a confrontation once, and it was a terrible experience! Too much hurting words were said and too much pain inflicted! I prayed to God I would never ever let anything like that happen ever again! Someone close to both of us once commented that this sibling of mine seemed to have so much envy inside of her. This comment made me write a post a few months ago in my blog http://www.paulynramirez.com/envy-kills/ . My mother is pretty closer to her now than to me, and seems to hang on to every word she says, meaning, to her, everything this sibling says is the “only truth” that stands unless proven false. Yes, Shirley, I pray and will continue to pray to God for peace that someday, somehow,things will change. I ask for wisdom and guidance to understand, acknowledge and correct whatever mistakes I may commit, because I also have that responsibility to show my children the right example of being a good daughter and elder sister in our family. Thanks again, Shirley..
Unfortunately, because we don’t control other’s reactions to us, sometimes we can’t resolve an issue such as this.
Continue to love God, and your family. I know your culture is probably quite different from mine, but if you were here in the States, I would advise you to enlarge your circle of friends–neighbors, and especially within the church. I know it’s unpleasant to think of doing it, but at this time, it might be better to spend less time with your mother and with that particular sibling.
I’ll continue praying for you…and if one day I make it to Manilla, we’ll meet for tea. 🙂
Thank you, Shirley, and I’ll be looking forward to that!
very interesting, but I don’t agree with you
In what way do you disagree, Idetroce?