Is It Tattling?
Mom says, “Don’t be a tattletale!” She also says, “If something goes wrong, tell me.” This sounds a bit puzzling, doesn’t it? Let’s see if we can solve the riddle that Rosie had.
Is it always wrong to “tell on someone”? What if your little brother is trying to start a fire with matches? You should tell Mom or Dad before he gets hurt or burns something. But when he takes a cookie from the plate and you run off to tell Mommy, you are a tattletale.
What is the difference?
The Bible talks about talebearers (those who tell tales on others) causing lots of trouble. If we tell someone a secret and they tell everyone else, they are a talebearer. Will you want to trust them again? Probably not. And if you start telling your friends all about what so-and-so does, are you being kind? No. Telling tales is not kind. It is when we start telling things so someone will get in trouble that we become a TATTLETALE.
So, when is it right to tell? When you tell something because you want to protect or help someone. It is the motive, or the reason you are doing it that makes the difference. If you really love your brother and want to prefer him above yourself, will you want to get him in trouble? Of course not. You wouldn’t want him to get you in trouble, would you? When you hear something that will just cause trouble if you repeat it, it is best not to say anything. But when we need protection from something that will hurt us, how good for someone to care enough to warn you!