“Loose lips sink ships”
I remember when I first heard that and it was told to me as a warning. A warning, in retrospect, that proved unneeded. However, this wise man was telling me a powerful truth. People with loose lips will sink the mightiest of ships. It doesn’t matter who you are, you could say the wrong thing to the wrong person and end up being wrecked because of it. King Solomon of Israel said the same thing as my friend, albeit more poetically in Proverbs 11:13:
A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.
There are times we get ourselves into trouble because people find out something we did that we shouldn’t have been doing. It’s hard to have sympathy when that happens. But what about when someone just blabs your life across the megaphone of their world and freely shares your information with others? Why do they do that?
Because by their nature, they are gossips. As wise Solomon said: they will betray our confidence. Some people possess a character flaw that prevents them from keeping their mouths shut so we shouldn’t be surprised when they tell others about our shared private moments.
A trustworthy person, on the other hand, is someone who can keep a secret. They don’t feel the compulsion to tell everyone everything they know. In humility, they guard your fears, insecurities, doubts, and struggles from the world wishing to tear you apart.
And therein is the key difference between a trustworthy person and a gossip: their pride. Have you heard the expression “knowledge is power”? What does a gossip have a lot of? Knowledge (whether it’s true or not is another story!). Since they have a lot of knowledge about people, what do they have over them and over those without this knowledge? Yep! Power.
Gossips betray our confidence because it brings them power to share the “exclusive” knowledge they have. Many times, their retelling of your tales has less to do with you and more to do with them. You are, unfortunately, collateral damage on their way “to the top.”
But those people who are humble before the Lord are trustworthy with even the “juiciest” of tidbits. They have no desire to hoard power and show it to others. Instead, their desire is to help. After all, it’s why they’re listening to you in the first place.
Pray for the discernment and wisdom to quickly identify the difference between gossips and trustworthy people.
It’ll save your ship.