Betraying secrets (Sir 27:16-27:21)

“Whoever betrays secrets

Destroys confidence.

He will never find

A congenial friend.

Love your friend.

Keep faith with him.

But if you betray his secrets,

Do not follow after him.

As a person destroys

His enemy,

So you have destroyed

The friendship of your neighbor.

As you allow a bird to escape

From your hand,

So you have let your neighbor go.

You will not catch him again.

Do not go after him.

He is too far off.

He has escaped

Like a gazelle from a snare.

A wound may be bandaged.

There is reconciliation after abuse.

But whoever has betrayed secrets

Is without hope.”

Sirach is very harsh against those who betray secrets. When you betray a secret you destroy any confidence that another person has in you. You can never be their friend again. If you love your friend, you will not betray his secrets. Once you betray him, do not follow after him. Your friendship is destroyed. You have let the bird out of your hand that will never return. So too, your friendly neighbor is gone for good. He is like a gazelle that has escaped from a trap. You will never get him back. Then Sirach indicated how strong he felt about this. He said that it was easier to have a wound bandaged, and abusive behavior forgiven than making up after betraying a secret. There was no hope for the betrayer. Wow! Be careful when someone tells you a secret.