Talebearer or Peacemaker?

Let's be quick to forgive, but slow to talk of the failings and mistakes of others.

June 7, 2019

"He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends."

Proverbs 17:9

Information gathering is a huge business in our times.  It’s often in the news how a company that gathers information from us has been breached by hackers leaving us vulnerable to the whims of men with no integrity.  And then other companies who have collected our data, sell it to others, making it impossible to know who is watching us.  It feels like we are being spied on and even talked about behind our backs.  Is there no privacy anymore?  Is this just good business?  Or is it sharing information that is nobody else’s business?  In reality, this “modern problem” is as old as the ages, and Solomon put his finger on the issue millennia ago.  Even in his day people were sharing private information with others, killing the reputation of the one spoken of.  The Bible calls this sharing of information from one person to another, “gossip.”  Note Solomon’s thought on two kinds of people in our verse for today.  He speaks of the “peacemaker,” and the “talebearer.”

“He that covereth a transgression seeketh love;”
Here’s the work of the peacemaker.  Rather than telling what he knows about a person, he is quick to “cover”1 the sin done to him.  He is “seeking love” not in the sense of trying to find it, but in trying to keep the love intact by his forgiving spirit.  Paul understood this principle of “seeking love” when he wrote,

“Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy” (1 Corinthians 14:1).

Solomon again,

“Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins,” (Proverbs 10:12).

“…he seeks to prove love who does not strike on the great bell when his neighbor has sinned however grievously against him, does not in a scandal-loving manner make much ado about it, and takes care not thereby to widen the breach between men who stand near to one another, but [endeavors] by a reconciling, soothing, rectifying influence, to mitigate the evil, instead of making it worse.”2

“But he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.”
The talebearer is just the opposite of the peacemaker.  If he has a juicy story, he does not care who he may hurt, but he tells what he knows.  His purpose is to verbally wound others while trying to make himself look good.  He does not care about guarding the reputation of anyone but himself.  He is selfish.  He is quick to separate friends.  In fact, his work even separates him from his own friends, in the end, he is hurting himself.

“Very friends” are “chief friends,” or “true friends” that he destroys.

“The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly” (Proverbs 18:8).

“A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter” (Proverbs 11:13).

Believers let’s be peacemakers! Guard your relationships with your friends.




1.  It should be noted that this “covering” is not the same as people trying to “coverup” a crime and hiding from authorities that we see so much of today.  This is dealing with interpersonal relationships and avoiding gossip.  This “covering” is being a peace-maker between brothers.
2.  Keil & Delitzsch, Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament, the electronic version in eSword.