The Trustworthy and the Talebearer – Part One
As you may know if you have been following my “WISDOM 101” my original intention was to write down my impressions and insights on re-reading the book of Proverbs, with a 20 year distance from the teachings of the church and my involvement with it. Back then as a preacher and teacher of Christian evangelical orthodoxy, I read commentaries, prepared talks and generally lived and breathed my intellectual life in the church, after attending Bible School in 1979/80.
I am realising that it may take me even longer than I second guessed to complete my task here. Initially my intention was to write 31 articles in the months of June and July 2014, one for each chapter of the book of Proverbs. I got off to a good start writing the first 10 articles by the 19th June. Then two weeks ago I took up the gauntlet again and decided to take a more detailed look at Chapters 11 and following and I wrote three articles on the first eleven verses.
Here I am at the end of July a third of the way through my task, and I have not only decided to be more detailed, but other things I am doing right now have prevented me from writing any more since a week ago Wednesday, but I am determined to press on, it will take as long as it takes. I am determined to find out what King Solomon the wisest and richest man who ever lived (if you believe his PR, and I do) has to teach us about business and becoming wealthy.
I am guilty as charged on this one! I am not as bad as I used to be when it comes to judging others words and actions out loud. The words of Jesus from the beginning of Matthew 7 have come to haunt me to many times in the past “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get!” for me to ignore them. When you point the finger, there’s three pointing back at you!
I tell my son, the teenager, it’s great to have opinions but it’s not always good to share them. So, why do we want to share our opinions? I think it is because they usually put us in high-standing in our own opinion of ourselves and that makes us feel good. Most of the things that you and I do in our lives have the intention of making us feel good. Even if we are helping others it isn’t entirely selfless, because do someone a kindness will make us feel good.
If you want to feel good, find a strategy that will leave a pleasant taste in other people’s mouths, seems to be what Solomon is getting at here. My Mum used to say to me, quite often if the truth is told, “If you haven’t got anything good to say, then don’t say anything at all!” A man (or woman) of understanding remains silent rather than belittle their neighbour or their business competitor. It seems strange to me how many times I forget this wisdom, how about you?
A childhood rhyme comes to mind here “Tell tale tit, your tongue will split, and all the little doggies will have a little bit!” It doesn’t seem to be enough for Solomon to advise his son not to speak ill of others, he feels it is necessary at this point to add, don’t share confidences that people have entrusted you with. Don’t be a talebearer or a gossip! It seems true to say, that it makes us feel good to reveal that we know something about another human being that no-one else knows.
Being the source of new information puts us in a place of power, we become to go to person when people want to know, it gives others the impression that we are wise. However, when the tales we tell are about the private lives of others, the long term effect is that people won’t take us into their confidence, they will keep us at arms length and we will end up with very few friends. In my work as a Life Coach I must keep confidences, so I am glad I gained this wisdom early.
If you or I want to be considered as trustworthy in our businesses, keeping confidences will be of great help. Think! Who would you rather do business with, someone who will reveal all the inside knowledge on what you are doing to all and sundry or those who and hides all the secrets you share away from others? Maybe there aren’t many people who hold to this high standard in business today, I hope I am wrong about that; but I know which type I’d prefer to work with.
We all need guidance and leadership, no matter how old or wise we may have already become. It’s no good enough to have great presentation skills, if what you are saying isn’t helpful. If wisdom isn’t at the cause of the guidance we are receiving right now from our local or world leaders, then the effects will be ruinous for us all. Make sure you know the character as well as the politics of those you vote for. The guidance we get sometimes can be worse than no guidance at all.
To make sure that the counsel we are receiving is going to be helpful in guiding us to where we want to be Solomon suggests that wisdom will come from going to as many of the people who seem to have got their act together as possible. Don’t just ask that trusted friend when you need help, go and see what the brightest minds and the most successful people you know have to say about you problem before taking any action.