- Dr. Stieglitz
Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 25:10
"Or he who hears it will reproach you, and the evil report about you will not pass away."
This verse is the extension of the verses above it. It tells of the dire consequences that take place to those who prove themselves right at the expense of breaking confidentiality and trust. You may win, but you will be the big loser in your win.
It does not matter how right you are in some factual matter if the word gets out that you cannot be trusted with confidential material. You will be isolated from the success that you seek. There will be times when you need to be thought wrong for a period because to prove you are right would betray another. This is very hard because our pride wants to defend itself. But the blow to our pride is easier to handle than a lifelong isolation, as people realize that they can't trust you with any personal or private information.
If you notice that very few, if any, people share personal information with you, or you are not brought into the high-level meetings where the real issues are discussed, it may mean that you are not trusted with this level of information. The evil report about you may be that you cannot keep your mouth shut.
This is what happens to people who love gossip and enjoy the dirt on everyone. They live for this type of information, and they share whatever they hear with all the people they know. This kind of person is usually reduced to second-hand hearsay because no one brings this person into their confidence.
The lesson here is that you need to clarify issues with people all the time. You need to clear up misunderstandings and correct wrong conclusions, but you should not reveal the secrets of another to do it. Become a person who can be trusted.
Some people take great delight in letting others know that they know stuff rather than in solving the problem. Treat the personal and professional inside information you know as a high privilege to know rather than as leverage to greater visibility. In fact, at times it is best to not let on that you know what another person is telling you. It is only your pride that wants the other person to know that you already know this. If you can become a person who is trusted with information, your life will be full of trusted friends and colleagues. If you cannot, then your relationships will be surface and your promotions will be limited.
It is very interesting that the word evil is used about the report that a person is a gossip about private information. We do not call being a gossip being evil in our culture, but biblically being a gossip is an evil. The Hebrew word dibba is the word for our two English words: evil report. It means defaming, slandering, infamy. It comes from a root dabab, which means to move gently. It came to mean a person who gently moves another person's opinion towards the negative or, in other words, slander. It is a subtle way of charging, plotting, or attacking a person.