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Proverbs 11:13 & meaning...


who brings gossip betrays a confidence, but one who is of a trustworthy spirit is one who keeps a secret.

Proverbs 11:13


Proverbs 11 [10.] When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices.

    When the wicked perish, there is shouting.

By the blessing of the upright, the city is exalted,

    but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.

One who despises his neighbor is void of wisdom,

    but a man of understanding holds his peace.

One who brings gossip betrays a confidence,

    but one who is of a trustworthy spirit is one who keeps a secret.

Where there is no wise guidance, the nation falls,

    but in the multitude of counselors there is victory.


This proverb contrasts the destructive nature of gossip with the virtue of trustworthiness, highlighting the moral and social implications of our speech and the importance of maintaining confidentiality.

  • The Destructive Nature of Gossip

Betrayal of Confidence: Gossip involves revealing private or sensitive information about others without their consent. This act of betrayal can damage relationships, erode trust, and harm reputations. Gossip spreads quickly and often distorts the truth, leading to misunderstandings and conflicts. James 3:6 underscores the power of the tongue, stating, "The tongue is also a fire, a world of iniquity among our members. The tongue defiles the whole body and sets the course of nature on fire, and is set on fire by Gehenna." Gossip can indeed set "the course of nature on fire" by causing widespread harm.

Social Fragmentation: Gossip not only affects individuals but can also fragment communities. When trust is broken, it creates an environment of suspicion and insecurity. People become wary of sharing personal information, and the sense of community and mutual support deteriorates. This can lead to a toxic culture where slander and backbiting prevail over kindness and unity.

Moral Consequences: Engaging in gossip reflects a lack of integrity and respect for others. It shows disregard for the dignity and privacy of those involved. Proverbs 18:8 notes, "The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts." This highlights how gossip can be tempting but ultimately harmful, deeply affecting those who partake in it.

  • The Virtue of Trustworthiness

A Trustworthy Spirit: In contrast, someone with a trustworthy spirit keeps secrets and respects confidentiality. Trustworthiness is a key attribute of a righteous person. It fosters a safe environment where individuals feel valued and protected. Proverbs 20:19 advises, "He who goes about as a tale-bearer reveals secrets; therefore don’t keep company with him who opens wide his lips." This emphasizes the importance of avoiding those who spread gossip and aligning ourselves with those who are trustworthy.

Building Strong Relationships: Trustworthy individuals build strong, lasting relationships. By respecting others' privacy and maintaining confidences, they create a foundation of mutual trust and respect. This is crucial not only in personal relationships but also in professional and communal settings. Trustworthy leaders, friends, and colleagues contribute to a positive and supportive atmosphere.

Reflecting God’s Character: Trustworthiness is a reflection of God's own character. God is described as faithful and true, and we are called to emulate these attributes in our lives. Psalm 31:5 declares, "Into your hand I commit my spirit. You redeem me, Lord, God of truth." Living out truthfulness and trustworthiness aligns us with God's nature and His expectations for our behavior.

Practical Applications

Guarding Our Speech: We must be vigilant about what we say and avoid the temptation to share information that isn’t ours to share. This requires self-control and a conscious effort to respect others' privacy. Ephesians 4:29 instructs, "Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but such as is good for building up as the need may be, that it may give grace to those who hear." Our words should build up, not tear down.

Encouraging Trustworthiness: We can encourage a culture of trustworthiness by modeling it in our own lives and valuing it in others. This involves being reliable, keeping confidences, and speaking truthfully. In doing so, we contribute to a culture where people feel safe and valued.

Handling Gossip: When confronted with gossip, it’s important to address it appropriately. This might mean gently correcting the gossiper, redirecting the conversation, or choosing to walk away. By not participating in gossip, we take a stand for integrity and respect.

Reflection and Self-Examination

Assessing Our Own Behavior: Reflecting on this proverb encourages us to examine our own speech and behavior. Are we prone to gossip, or do we strive to be trustworthy? How can we improve in keeping confidences and speaking truthfully? Proverbs 10:19 reminds us, "In the multitude of words there is no lack of disobedience, but he who restrains his lips does wisely." Restraining our lips and choosing our words carefully is a mark of wisdom.

Seeking Forgiveness and Restoration: If we have betrayed someone’s confidence, seeking their forgiveness is crucial. Restoring trust can be challenging, but it is an important step in mending relationships. Confession and repentance, along with a commitment to change, can help rebuild trust.


Proverbs 16:28: "A perverse man stirs up strife. A whisperer separates close friends." This verse highlights the divisive nature of gossip and the importance of avoiding it to maintain harmony and friendship.

Matthew 12:36: "I tell you that every idle word that men speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment." Jesus’ words remind us of the accountability we have for our speech, underscoring the seriousness of gossip and false testimony.

Conclusion: Proverbs 11:13, "One who brings gossip betrays a confidence, but one who is of a trustworthy spirit is one who keeps a secret," teaches us the importance of integrity and respect in our speech. Gossip undermines trust and damages relationships, while trustworthiness builds a foundation of mutual respect and security. By guarding our speech, encouraging trustworthiness, and addressing gossip appropriately, we can foster a culture of integrity and respect. Reflecting on our own behavior and seeking to align it with biblical principles helps us to live out the values of honesty and trustworthiness in our daily lives.

abhor - love - neighbor - relatives - unfair
PIB Scriptures are derived from the World English Bible


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