Tell a Person His Fault Alone

During the early days of the Salvation Army, William Booth and his associates were bitterly attacked in the press by religious leaders and government leaders alike. Whenever his son, Bramwell, showed Booth a newspaper attack, the General would reply, “Bramwell, fifty years h … More


About 250 years after Solomon wrote them, Hezekiah’s men grouped many of these proverbs in units of similar thoughts (v. 1). Man is constantly forced to confess the limits of his understanding (vv. 2-3). God’s  thoughts are far above our thoughts  (Rom. 11:33-34). God has not chosen to reveal everything about Himself and His plans (Deut. 29:29). He delights in our  searching the sacred Scriptures for His mind and will. Just as undesirable slag is removed from ... silver (cf. 27:21), so wicked people are to be removed from the king (vv. 4-5). Getting rid of wicked assistants (cf. 20:8, 26) enables a king to have a righteous reign.

It is wrong for a person to try to promote himself (vv. 6-7). It is likely that he will  rate himself far higher than others  would. The man who is content with the lowly seat may be called to a higher one if found to be deserving of such recognition.

A man must practice care in relationships in order to avoid conflict with others. We should never jump to hasty conclusions about others for what are first impressions  are may not be true at all (v. 8). Much trouble could be avoided if people were careful to keep their discussions to themselves in place of spreading abroad their differences. In providing evidence against a neighbor in a court case a plaintiff may be forced to betray a friend’s confidence (vv. 9-10). As a result the friend may shame him and the plaintiff may have an irretrievable loss of reputation. It is risky business to accuse others publicly in court. What God wants  us to do is to follow the simple scriptural rule of,"Tell him his fault between thee and him alone.” In following this principle many misunderstandings can be made right and many people spared from hearing about the problem when they should have never heard about it anyway.



“If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself.” “Am I as spontaneously kind to God as I used to be, or am I only expecting God to be kind to me? How much kindness have I shown Him this past week? Have I been kind to His reputation in my life?”

Proverbs 25:1-10 (English Standard Version)

These also are proverbs of Solomon which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied. It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out. As the heavens for height, and the earth for depth, so the heart of kings is unsearchable. Take away the dross from the silver, and the smith has material for a vessel; take away the wicked from the presence of the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness. Do not put yourself forward in the king's presence or stand in the place of the great, for it is better to be told, "Come up here," than to be put lower in the presence of a noble. What your eyes have seen do not hastily bring into court, for what will you do in the end, when your neighbor puts you to shame? Argue your case with your neighbor himself, and do not reveal another's secret, lest he who hears you bring shame upon you, and your ill repute have no end.

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »