I Bet You’re Wonderin’ How I Knew

How do things get out?  We’re always asking ourselves that question, and we always already know.  Secrecy is a burden few are willing to bear.  At the same time, it can be nearly impossible to find out where the leak is even if the ceiling is falling in.  Whether too good not to tell or too wiggly to get a grip on, whisperings will out, and this truth applies equally to good and bad news.  The law of unintended consequences is always in play and at no time more unruly than when words are being thrown around.  Don’t quote me on that.

Can you keep a secret?  It has been my policy not to sink ships though I must confess occasional failures.  The nature of a conversation indicates whether it is confidential or not, and great harm can come from passing sensitive information.  At the same time, wisdom indicates whether or not hushed tones are the appropriate venue for selected acts and devisings.  It is to one’s credit to be seen as trustworthy with confidences, and worthy individuals will not attract tattletales.  You may be needed, at some point, to bear the weight of silence.

Certain never repeat gossip so listen close the first time.  I don’t think gossips need to be identified.  They know who they are, and so does everybody else.  Take care in sharing shared information.  It really is an honor for people to relate matters close to themselves with you and should be seen as such.  Of course, not all gabbing is of the same nature nor merits such value.  It cannot be denied that gossips come in handy since the cover of darkness is used for dastardly deeds, and espionage can serve useful and honorable purposes.

When there is a secret, it may be important to know why it is a secret.  People will plan harm covertly and disseminate information selectively so that it will be known but untraceable.  Often, hurtful acts are not performed by the originators.  The Bible and human history are replete with examples.  Jezebel inflamed her husband’s wicked inclinations, and Manson was convicted of murders he did not commit.  We can be thankful these may be extreme examples, but evidences they are.  And they are not so extreme as to be singular.

It may be hard to face a person down and not only in controversy.  People speak to friends face-to-face, but intimate talk can be uncomfortable and awkward.  Every time I tried to tell you, the words just came out wrong.  Barney said, “Anxiety magnifies fearsome objects,” and I know the feeling.  Maybe, this is why text messages are all the rage today.  Firing someone?  Press send.  Want a divorce?  Press send.  It’s easy and desirable to pass the buck, but it has to stop somewhere.  I don’t like uncomfortable situations, but I’ve had plenty.

Jesus and James warned us to watch our mouths.  I suppose I regret hasty speech as much as any of my sins.  Realization grew as I grew since my words were backed by strong emotions.  The words remained hot longer than the head.  We are not to curse others in the privacy of our homes understanding that the birds are listening, our tongues are fires from the pit and overmuch speech is sin and shame.  At the same time, the erudite will not concern themselves with the prattling of fools.  Be careful little tongue what you say. 

It would be wonderful if relationships were such that we could talk with one another without doubt and communicate hurts without reservations.  Truthfulness and trustfulness would not be adversaries, and we would learn the beauty of real community.  There would be no wars of words, and we could beat our swords into ploughshares.  We could reflect the Father up above and look on one another with love.  Openness would preempt fear from casting its shadow over honest communications. You could have told me yourself.

Sterl

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