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Being Loyal to Fellow Servants of God
Proverbs 11:13 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
13 He who goes about as a worker of slander reveals secrets,
but he who is trustworthy in spirit covers over a matter.
He who goes about as a worker of slander reveals secrets: One who is a worker of slander (talebearer) attacks the reputation of another through bad reports. Gossip is idle personal talk, which is groundless rumor and more or less harmless. Slander (רָכִיל rakil), on the other hand, is defamation that is made public, which is generally malicious. Slander is always damaging and destructive and always causes offense, hurt, and contention. Reveals secrets is what a slanderer does, spreading harmful information about another person, speaking in an open, public setting, which is different than a gossiper, who spreads harmful information about another person, as a semi-private, hushed communication.
but he who is trustworthy in spirit covers over a matter: The contrast here from line one is trustworthiness. He who is trustworthy in spirit (אֵמוּן emun or אֵמֻן emun) has a strong allegiance to another. He is faithful and loyal, reliable, which makes him dependable. This person covers over (כֶּסֶא kese or כֶּסֶה keseh) or keeps information private about another for the sake of others. He is able to keep secrets confidential.
In looking at Proverbs 11:12-13 together, we can see what harm comes from one who is in want of heart (lacking common-sense or good judgment) He has no concern over his loose talk to the point of where it becomes slander or abusive speech. On the other hand, a man who has understanding knows when to remain silent. Instead of revealing secrets, he covers over the matter. This man of understanding is trustworthy, for he knows that an unguarded tongue can cause much harm, so he is trustworthy in spirit, being trustworthy in spirit. He is loyal to his fellow servants of God, and so he does not reveal secret matters that have been shared with him in confidence. The integrity of this person is a blessing to God’s people.
If we are listening to the person who comes to us with secrets about others, do you not think he will reveal our secrets as well? Faithfulness is displayed, not only in doing what a person ought to be doing but in doing it calmly and silently and without talkativeness.