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TEXT: Proverbs 26:20
SUBJECT: Proverbs #23: The Talebearer
"Talebearing" is translated from the Hebrew word, RAKEL, which literally means to sell, market, or merchandise. It brings to mind the travelling salesman, going hither and yon peddling his wares.
Such a word well describes the nature of talebearing. It therefore includes three acts:
Extracting confidential or derrogatory information. "An ungodly man digs up evil and it is on his lips like a burning fire" (16:27).
Displaying it to his best advantage. This may be done in various ways: you may make innocent matters questionable, e.g., "I went to Mr. Smith's home last night, and I saw a bottle of wine in his refrigerator, hmmmmmm." or questionable matters bad, e.g., On the Day of Pentecost, when the Apostles spoke in various tongues, "Some mocked, saying, `These men are full or new wine'". Or making bad things worse. I know a woman who is, admittedly, the worst gossip I have ever known. But one man was so disgusted with her behavior that he came right out and said, "She is a witch".
Selling it to his own profit. To the carnal mind, gossip is gratifying. By tearing down another, you are implicitly building up yourself. By learning revealing secret things, you become very popular to a certain class.
In summary: To bear tales, therefore, means to peddle confidential or derrogatory information about others. You may dress it up any way you like. "I think the world of Mr. Jones, but..." "I wouldn't hurt Mr. Smith for anything in the world, but..." "I don't mean to gossip, but..." "Keep this to yourself..." "Let me tell you something as a matter of prayer..." But all of these cliches do not change the fact. If you peddle evil information about others you are a talebearer."
Bearing tales is one of the most acceptable of all sins. But you must not confuse acceptablity with triviality. For talebearing is one of the most serious of all offenses. Consider its gravity.
Talebearing is a sin detestable to God, 6:16-19.
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