Acclaimed as the wisest king of ancient times, Solomon wrote more than 3000 proverbs, some of which are preserved in the Bible book called, appropriately, PROVERBS.
One of my grandmother's favorites was "He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy conceals a matter."
I remember when a 'man's word was his bond' and I suppose many of you do as well. Trustworthiness, loyalty, integrity and honor no longer claim front page status in our contemporary society, sad to say. The media hasn't helped for sensationalism drives much of its publishing decisions.
Yet the truth of Solomon's words has not lost any of its power. A true friend guards your personal thoughts and experiences with the same devotion that he guards his own because a true friend cares - really cares - about you and your well-being.
The tale bearer, by contrast, seeks to promote himself by supposed 'insider' information that minimizes the person spoken about. What the tale bearer doesn't grasp is that each of those bits of gossip he scatters around minimizes him or her, not the other person, for who can trust a gossip? If he will carry tales to you about someone else, you can be sure he will parrot tales about you to others. The talebearer is a person who cannot be trusted.
The trustworthy friend is the one who lives by the golden rule: 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.' You can entrust your deepest secrets into their care in full assurance that your confidence will never be violated.
Such a friend is a gift beyond measure. If you have such a friend, be deeply grateful.
To be such a friend to others is the mark of an honorable person. If you are, your friends will be deeply grateful.