Things to be ashamed of (Sir 41:17-41:23)

“Be ashamed of sexual immorality before your father or mother!

Be ashamed of a lie before a prince or a ruler!

Be ashamed of a crime before a judge or a magistrate!

Be ashamed of a breach of the law before the congregation!

Be ashamed of a breach of the law before the people!

Be ashamed of unjust dealing before your partner!

Be ashamed of unjust dealing before or your friend!

Be ashamed of theft in the place where you live!

Be ashamed of breaking an oath before the truth of God!

Be ashamed of breaking an agreement before the truth of God!

Be ashamed of leaning on your elbow at meals!

Be ashamed of surliness in receiving!

Be ashamed of surliness in giving!

Be ashamed of silence before those who greet you!

Be ashamed of looking at a prostitute!

Be ashamed of rejecting the appeal of a relative!

Be ashamed of taking away someone’s portion!

Be ashamed of taking away someone’s gift!

Be ashamed of gazing at another man’s wife!

Be ashamed of meddling with his maidservant!

Do not approach her bed!

Be ashamed of abusive words before friends!

Do not be insulting after making a gift!

Be ashamed of repeating what you hear!

Be ashamed of revealing secrets!

Then you will show proper shame.

Then you will find favor with everyone.”

Sirach indicates a long list of things that you should really be ashamed of. They include sexual immorality, lying, crimes, law breaking, unjust dealings, theft, and breaking oaths before your parents, rulers, judges, congregations, friends, roommates, and God. Besides these actions, you should also be ashamed of bad manners at meals, surliness when giving and receiving gifts, being silent when greeted, looking at prostitutes, refusing your relatives, taking someone’s gift, gazing an someone’s wife, meddling with the female servants, abusive words among friends, insulting other’s gifts, repeating what you hear, and betraying secrets. These are the proper things to be ashamed of so that everyone will like you.

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.