The Candid Friend and Whisperers

"Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful." He is indeed a true friend who warns us of our danger and will be sharp with us that we may be saved. He is ever well-wisher, yea, more than that, our reliable helper, perhaps closer than a brother in that his relationship in love is voluntary and mental, not the relationship of birth and circumstance.

The teaching of Jesus was ever in favor of true kindness and the restoration of the lost. He bade his disciples first to have humility in order to be great; then in the case of a brother sinning, to go and reprove him—just to have friend and friend together alone. If there was a readiness to listen, then a brother had been won over to the right view. If he would not listen to one alone, then the help of other friends might be invited. If he refused their ministry, the matter might be brought to the church, and if he declined to be amenable to Christianity, only then was his choice to be recognized, in that he classed himself as a pagan. It was the teaching of the Master that if a man at the very altar remembered a grievance which his brother had against him, he should leave there his gift and depart to be first reconciled to his brother before offering it. By disclosing man's true relationship to God, Christ Jesus made clear what was true relationship between men, and revealed a spiritual meaning for the proverb, "A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity."

The opposite of the candid friend who is trying to enlarge friendship and its comfort is the evasive whisperer, concerning whom it is said, "A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends." Quite early in the history of the Hebrew people it was recognized that the busybody working as a mesmerist in slandering others was harmful; hence one of the rules given in Leviticus was, "Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people." This rule is translated into picturesque language when it is said in Proverbs, "Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth." Among other wise sayings we find this proverb: "The words of a talebearer are as wounds." This word talebearer may properly be rendered as in the margin of the Scripture version, whisperers. Paul in writing to the Romans indicates with what other conditions of mind they are to be classed, putting together "whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things," and so on. He speaks elsewhere of the overt action of detractors, associating together "debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults." Our Leader, Mrs. Eddy, lets us know that mental detraction and interference may go on in secret, for she says in her "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 368), "The silent address of a mental malpractitioner can only be portrayed in these words of the apostle, 'whisperers,' and 'the poison of asps is under their tongue.'"

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November 29, 1919

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