Don’t Gossip

Fire goes out without wood,
and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.
A quarrelsome person starts fights
as easily as hot embers light charcoal or fire lights wood.
Rumors are dainty morsels
that sink deep into one’s heart
(Proverbs 26:20-22 NLT).

Solomon continues with poignant advice we need today. When our ears hear gossip, our mind must immediately decide what to receive—if any—and what to dismiss, likely all. Let the Holy Spirit guide us when we hear gossip and don’t engage in it. Beginning today, work on hearing effectively and speaking the truth in love.

The Fuel

Gossip, rumors, contention, and quarreling are like wildfires from our mouths. Often out of control, they needlessly destroy good intentions. One commentator * describes it as the fuel that burns up the spirit, a terror called divisiveness. Make a concerted effort not to chew on these inflammatory morsels.

The apostle Paul has much to say about gossip in his letters to the churches at Rome and Corinth and to Titus and Timothy. He strongly warned believers to be wary of straying away the truth they’d learned. Paul specifically told them to refrain from gossip. It’s not language that honors God.

Wounds

The result of listening to or spreading rumors and gossip can quickly lead to wounded friendships. Likewise, fellowship may be burnt to a crisp, due to the strife that gossip causes. The Holy Spirit is our guide when we hear gossip. Make sure not to engage in it at all. Beginning today, work on hearing effectively and speaking the truth in love.

Prayer: Father, help me not to gossip nor burn relationships with my thoughtless communication.

*Commentary on The Whole Bible, Vol 1, Matthew Henry, Regency Reference Library, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Proverbs 26, p779.

More On Communication

A north wind brings stormy weather,
 and a gossipy tongue stormy looks.
24 Better to live alone in a tumbledown shack
 than share a mansion with a nagging spouse (Proverbs 25:23-24 MSG).

The Message version continues with some humor on how to get away from a contentious spouse [most versions use wife here]. Remember it’s Solomon’s depiction not mine. The solution seems extreme. However, the situation is also. Let God help you control your tongue and you will be blessed with his message.

Don’t Be Quarrelsome

This vivid comparison of a gossipy tongue and a contentious spouse is real. It’s an historical problem and a real one today too. Slander, backbiting, gossip and quarrelsome speech are divisive and disrupt positive relationships.

Ask God What to Say

Here is God telling Jeremiah what to do during the siege of Jerusalem.

Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own (Jeremiah 33:3 MSG).

Yes, God is in the business of speaking to people, the Prophet Jeremiah, simple people like Gideon and even simpler people like us! God knows our situation and he wants to hear our requests. Let God help you control your tongue and you will be blessed with his message.

Prayer: Father, I know you love me and want to help me. What a blessing to know you answered Jeremiah and you will answer us today. I’m listening and want to hear your voice.

New Way Of Life

If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat;
And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
For in doing so, you will heap coals of fire upon his head,
And the Lord will reward you (Proverbs 25:21,22 AMP).

Solomon bursts out a few words on how to treat our enemies. His wisdom here is beyond normal understanding. He gives a godly approach in dealing with folks who seem to be our enemies. Today believers have wonderful guidance. Because our help is through the Holy Spirit withour eyes kept on Jesus.

God’s Generosity

Because God sent His Son Jesus, we see additional meaning. We must do things differently, acting in love, due to the Father’s generosity to us.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, (Hebrews 10:23,24a NASB).

Keep Your Eyes on Jesus

God told Joshua, Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you whoever you go (Joshua 1:9 NIV. Today believers have wonderful guidance too. Our help is through the Holy Spirit with our eyes kept on Jesus.

Prayer: Father, thank you for giving me your Counselor. I do struggle with certain people at times. Help me act and react in love. Selah.

Timely Words

The right word at the right time
 is like a custom-made piece of jewelry,
And a wise friend’s timely reprimand
 is like a gold ring slipped on your finger.
Proverbs 25:11-12 MSG)

Here Solomon uses a series of metaphors we need digest and take seriously. Good communication is more than babbling whatever comes into our mind as we speak. Controlling the tongue yields soothing benefits and can bring godly comfort. The right words spoken in a timely manner edify the hearer.

Wise Communication

Eugene Peterson’s wording in The Message helps readers today. He emphasizes our need to use of the best words to effectively communicate. Some translations of this passage, read apples of gold which also means soothing/beautiful words. Each makes the point of wisely choosing the right words for the purpose.

Careful Communication

A reprimand, after an offense can be harsh or abrupt. However, when done wisely and timely it yields better results. The agility or effectiveness of good communication is an art form which is better than a staccato of words used without discretion.

Tame the Tongue

James, the brother of Jesus, has much to say on communication, especially on the use of the tongue.

With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!
My friends, this can’t go on (James 3:10-12a The Message).

James declares we have to control what we say, because we can easily slip into divisive words. Too often, we speak without thinking or without honoring our Lord. Think on this: The right words spoken in a timely manner edify the hearer.

Prayer: Father, help me choose the words you would have me speak. I ask your Spirit to guide me daily in my communication. The words I use should be at your prompting to edify. Selah.

Don’t Be Lazy

I walked by the field of a lazy person,
the vineyard of one with no common sense.
31 I saw that it was overgrown with nettles.
It was covered with weeds,
and its walls were broken down.
32 Then, as I looked and thought about it,
I learned this lesson:
33 A little extra sleep, a little more slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
34 then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit;
scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.
(Proverbs 24:30-34 NLT)

 

Part of this proverb you probably heard as a child—but it reminds us of an essential life lesson for today. This remarkable personal teaching is like parable. It describes the hazards laziness can yield in life. Don’t be lazy.

Observation

A man observed a field which had good soil but no viable crop. Unlike others all around, it produced only nettles and weeds. If this field had any fruit, ravaging animals would take it, because it had no wall or fence around it.

Discovery

This man meditated on what he saw and realized the meaning of living this insidious lifestyle. It was not only a censure against the owner, but a life lesson for himself.

Think of it this way:

  • Our souls are like the fields and vineyards which need care and husbandry
  • Our pride, lust, and even passions can become stinging nettles and weeds
  • Broken down walls provide no protection against the enemy

What a disastrous thing laziness can be. It injures our family, diminishes our livelihood/gainful employment, voids our personal drive to do good, and makes us look foolish. Don’t be lazy.

Prayer: Father, thank you. This vivid reminder helps me see your better way for my walk with you.

Teacher To Pupil

Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise,
And apply your mind to my knowledge;
18 For it will be pleasant if you keep them within you,
That they may be ready on your lips.
19 So that your trust may be in the Lord,
I have taught you today, even you.
20 Have I not written to you excellent things
Of counsels and knowledge,
21 To make you know the certainty of the words of truth
That you may correctly answer him who sent you?

Proverbs 22:17-21 NASB

These verses are the first of a section termed thirty sayings of the wise—also called excellent things. * In this subset, Solomon directly addresses the reader as a particular person and delivers more wise sayings for us to chew on and implement. Again, Solomon says, “Hear the words I am telling you.”

Keep These Words

Solomon pleads with the reader to value his teaching:

  • Your ear must receive and implement it
  • Your heart must function in faith with it
  • Your heart cannot do its job without the ear involved

These words are not for mere learning, but for readiness and a life alert for use. They are wise words we can apply in times of success and failure. Solomon promises a good result if these words are kept in our minds and hearts, ready to be implemented at the proper time.

The Truth of God

These sayings can bolster the believer’s trust in the Lord. They are not like commands of a master to a servant, but ones which the teacher gives the pupil for the benefit of the pupil.

When we know God’s truth, that truth bolsters our faith. Learning these wise sayings and hiding them in our heart is paramount. Be wise and ready to put these jewels to use in times of trials and success. Again, Solomon says, “Hear the words I am telling you.”

Prayer: Father, open my ears that I may hear, open my eyes that I may see, open my heart to learn more and more of your ways.

* Matthew Henry on Proverbs Chapters 22-24, biblehub.com

Train Your Children in God’s Ways

Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek
God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents],
Even when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6 AMP).

We’ve heard this wise saying many times—godly training is the key for believers in raising a child. Teach God’s ways for your children to last a lifetime. God says the enormous time and energy expended in this is will be rewarding. Prepare your children to know and love Jesus in their youth.

Parents’ Responsibility

This proverb places the action and responsibility upon believing parents to train/teach their children. Believers know the glory and greatness of the Father, his majesty, and overwhelming goodness they have in him. When God gives children to believing parents, much is expected of the parents.

In Ephesians 6:4 Paul gives broad examples of what parents are to do:

  • Teach them from God’s Word on how to live
  • Show them principles of a holy life and talk
  • Bring them up with love and grace not harshness

God Loves Children

Proverbs 22:6 explains the training of your children must be focused on their  ability and talent. Every child is different. Parenting is difficult. Knowing God loves your child is a comfort, but it doesn’t make the job easier. That may be an understatement.

As children enter adulthood they make their own decisions. This is the wonderful and sometimes painful part of parenting. Sadly, many accounts in Scripture document the children falling away after being taught God’s ways.

Trust in the Lord in This

My child, never forget the things I have taught you.
Store my commands in your heart.
If you do this, you will live many years,
and your life will be satisfying (Proverbs 3:1-2 NLT).

Thankfully, many times godly character wins by perseverance, continued guidance of the Word and the Holy Spirit. Prepare your children to know and love Jesus in their youth.

Prayer: Father, help us as parents to know how to be practical in teaching our children your ways. Selah.