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.
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.
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.