To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.
The Apostle Paul, when instructing Titus to be aware of some of his own personal behaviours in his ministry, mentioned not to speak evil of any person.
Why do you think he said that?
Some people pick and choose who they speak about people behind their backs, thinking they are talking with a close confidante who won’t spread it about. Then, a while later, they find the ‘secret’ is out, the person of topic is offended, and many other people know who spread the rumour or fact.
Christians talking about people happens more often than we realise..much more often.
If Titus chose who he spoke about in secret, sooner or later he will speak about others in the same way. Is that the behaviour of a Shepherd or Bishop to act? When congregants come to their Elders they expect to speak in confidence, as many secrets are revealed in those talks.
Often others are placed in similar positions, and confidentiality is called for and expected. Revealing secrets breaks hearts which are often never repaired, and the ’trusted person’ is not trusted with precious classified information again. A reputation is developed which, despite repentance and change of manner, doesn’t ever seem to erase.
It was imperative for Titus to keep confidence, and a good practice to seal his lips regardless of the pressure to tell someone. Our fault line is that we have this voice rehearsing in our heads “I just need to tell someone.”
Keeping information as classified as the day we heard it is a learned behaviour. It the learned ethic of mouth-management, and all Christians should be excellent at it. However, if we don't see it as vital, our heart doesn't care as much as the teller hopes it does.
Today’s prayer. Dear Lord, thank you for the strengths you have given me to withstand the need to tell someone another’s personal secret or to backstab them by talking behind their back. Please help me to get better as I get older, and to cherish personal information as much as the teller does.