Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Friendship in Proverbs 20 revisited

I've had a bit of time to dig out the gems in this verse. I'm glad I took the time to do so - it answered many of my questions . Before, I dig into this more I want to share, without giving specifics that God's timing for calling my attention to this verse was amazing. My questions stem from a personal situation but one that I am sure does not involve anyone who I know reads my blog. How's that? I don't want anyone wondering if things they've said to me are bothering me - I'm an upfront person. I've been known to tell friends "I think our friendship is too gossipy - forgive me - we need to clean it up." If I thought our friendship was in this realm - I would say something privately to you.

As a counselor of women and as a pastor's wife there are times when folks share confidences with me - I don't consider that gossip. I don't know that I've ever said, "You are so right - give me the dirt". KWIM? AND I don't spread the intimacies shared with me....but I've said for a long time that "gossip" is the "disease of those in ministry" and so I guard against it carefully. This verse SMACKED me and raised questions. It HIT me because I don't want to be a person that goes around slandering - and I don't want to have friends that are slandererous either. That said - WHAT exactly does the Scripture consider to be slander? I know what is LEGAL SLANDER but that doesn't apply here. What does GOD consider slander?

20:19 He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, Therefore do not associate with a gossip. NASB

"He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips." KJV

Word Studies
Strongs # 7400

Blue Letter Bible: slanderer, informer, to go about for the sake of slandering (hate it when the word is used to define the word - don't you?) ::snort::

Dr. Zodhiates: always negative, spreading rumors or falsities about someone
revealing things that should not be made public

TWOT #2165B (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)- says same

Conclusion: this is a person who goes around telling tales out of school - maybe they are true - but they shouldn't be made public - this person is described further....He reveals secrets.

Strongs 1540 - uncover, remove, expose, disclose

Strongs # - 5475
Blue Letter Bible (Strongs) - secret counsel, as reclining at a couch and sharing intimate, familiar discourse

Dr. Z - Confidentiality is at the heart of the term.
~information shared in confidence should remain confidential (Pr 25:9)
~suggests the idea of intimate counsel
~in a negative sense would denote evil plotting

TWOT #1471 A - this is confidential counsel vs general counsel
~indicates a circle of trusted intimates who give their advice.

This is COOL, are your ready?
~a wise and upright man who walks in the fear of the Lord will have God's secret counsel (Ps 25:14, Pr 3:32, Amos 3:7)

Conclusion: A slanderer is one who reveals (uncovers) INTIMATE CONFIDENCES - he is one who breaks an expected trust of intimacy. A pastor/counselor is Biblically slandering if they break the expectations of confidentiality and share intimacies that have been shared with them. I'm sure there are exceptions - but as a rule this conduct would rise to the Biblical use of the word.

We become slanderers when we share intimate confidences with others that have been entrustedto us. It seems to me that this is a significant betrayal of trust.

Meddle Not/ Don't Associate

I checked Not means Not or don't....we'll leave that word. LOL

Strongs # 6148
Blue Letter Bible - Strongs - take on a pledge, mingle, occupy

Dr. Z - exchange, take a pledge, give a pledge, mortgage, taking possession of exchanged material, implied sharing or associating at a meaningful level, conveys the idea of engagement.

TWOT - #1686 Word usage in OT
1. barter, exchange
2. pledge, mortgage
3. become surety or bail for

Homonyms - associate with, intermix, meddle

Conclusion: Associate - is a deeper relationship than simply hanging around with someone. It speaks of "intermingling", of becoming a surety for the's "sharing at a meaningful level". So - I should not have this level of relationship with someone who goes around breaking the intimate confidences of others. If I know that someone makes this a practice - I should establish boundaries to ensure that I can speak into this person's life but NOT become victim to this person. This verse doesn't mean that I can't say Hello or go to lunch with any person that has ever gossipped.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: He who goes about spreading rumors and revealing things that should not be public reveals intimate confidences, therefore don't share a meaningful relationship with a person who gossips.

There is still room for relationships because we are to be salt, light, and mentor each other....

This definition of "slander" is tougher than the legal definition....this is helping me sort through that situation I illuded to earlier....I thought one party may be slandering another...but now I clearly see that the first party was biblically slandering and maybe the second party isn't. I also see that this is not saying that all level of relationship with a known slanderer is to be cut off.