At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
A talebearer revealeth secrets:Proverbs 11:13
But he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.
There are times when Scripture tells us to go in opposite directions, sometimes this way and sometimes that. Should we answer a fool according to his folly (Prov. 26:5), or should we not answer him according to his folly (Prov. 26:4)? And because we are dealing with wisdom literature, and not stacking blocks of wood, the answer comes back to us in the form of it all depends.
If someone has done something particularly ripe, and won’t deal with it, are there times when it should be told to the church? Absolutely (Matt. 18:17). And when Paul rebuked Peter at Antioch to his face, he did so in front of them all (Gal. 2:14). It is a sin to sin, and it is another sin to hide the sin. “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: But whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Prov. 28:13). That seems plain enough.
And of course, these are the sorts of passages that the talebearer will be quick to point to. He reveals secrets, and he is doing as a gossip. So the gossip has a line of defense—he portrays himself as a truth teller. He is not a snitch. He is not a security risk, or a criminal leaker, but rather a whistleblower. He is one of the good words, not one of the bad words.
But the contrast should be plain. In those circumstances when the talebearer is sharing everything he knows all over the place, what does a faithful spirit do? He conceals a matter. But if we remember what we have discussed just a moment ago, this is righteous when it is done righteously, and it is wicked when it is not. How are we to tell? This is wisdom literature, and so we should be steeped in the way this principle is taught.
We begin with the fact that it can be a scriptural requirement to cover up sins.
Cover ups can clearly be a godly endeavor that we are called to strive for. Joseph, being a righteous man, determined to divorce Mary quietly (Matt. 1:19). Had Mary actually been unfaithful to him, she would have been pilloried by the discernment bloggers. This would have been right before they keel-hauled Joseph for “hushing it up,” and that would be right before they tarred and feathered their pastor for the counsel he had given, forcing him to apologize for protecting “that hussy.”
But . . .
“He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; But he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends” (Prov. 17:9). “Hatred stirreth up strifes: But love covereth all sins” (Prov. 10:12). “A fool’s wrath is presently known: But a prudent man covereth shame” (Prov. 12:16).
This is something that pastors are particularly summoned to understand. The devil is the one who accuses the brethren, day and night, and I am afraid there are far too many Christians who do not really understand the diabolical spirit they are of (Rev. 12:10; Luke 9:55). They think they are doing the work of God when they are indulging in what He flat prohibited.