On a scale of one to ten, how trustworthy would you rate yourself (with one being incapable of holding a secret for more than 23 seconds and ten being the impenetrable vault hiding the Queen of England’s precious jewels)? If you were to ask your mother, your boss, your employees, or your children the same question regarding yourself, what do you think they would say about you? What kind of reputation have you mustered up?
The simple truth and reminder today is this: making other people look good, no matter how you personally feel about them, is always the wisest and most beneficial way to live. If you’ve been a Christian for a while, this is something that you’ve probably heard a million times. But the reminder of it is so vital because it’s a sin that’s so easy to slip into. Gossip is dangerous not only for the person being talking about, but for ourselves. Gossip always leads to drama and strained relationships - we create our own mess. As kids it was a shame to be labeled a tattle taler, yet as adults we get such satisfaction with tattling about the wrongs of others. Don’t become a tabloid magazine, be someone who has a reputation of holding secrets and making others look awesome. You’ll enjoy life more, have better friendships, and have less conflicts to resolve. And side note about being the listener to gossip - if someone is telling secrets to you about someone else, there’s a pretty good chance they’re going to spill your juicy news to others.
What I love about this Proverb is that it does more than just challenge the gossiper. It challenges those who want to do the right thing to do more than ‘not gossip,’ but actually take action against it. Are you making it your mission to elevate others’ reputations, even when it feels good to hurt them? You can’t always get an accurate perception about people based on what others say about them, but you can certainly judge a person based on what they say about others. Take the high road for your sake and others. The next time you’re tempted to share what you’ve heard, remember the reputation you’re creating, and then make an effort to build that person up.