We have already read several passages in Proverbs that warned us about controlling what we say. Today’s passage adds to those warnings the caution that we should also be careful about who and what we listen to. We should take not sides quickly by hearing only one side of a story and then rushing to form an opinion (Proverbs 18:5a). Instead, we should recognize that fools (ungodly people) often use their words to try to hurt and ruin godly people (Proverbs 18:5b). Such evil people stir up controversies and drama (Proverbs 18:6a) with their hateful gossip (Proverbs 18:8a). Their words will eventually get them and those who join them into great trouble, one way or another (Proverbs 18:6b,7b). Therefore, while it may be very tempting to listen to their stories and lies about others (Proverbs 18:8b), we must resist that sinful desire and instead choose not to listen. That could mean we need to tell some “friends” that we just don’t want to hear it when they start up with a rumor or a mean discussion about another person. If they won’t stop, it could mean physically walking away from the conversation. If they gossip all the time, it could mean choosing better friends to hang out with.
The counsel from today’s text is clear. We must not only guard our lips and hearts, but our ears, too. May God help us all to live out that wisdom today.
The Text (Proverbs 18:5-8)
5 It is not good to show partiality to the wicked, Or to overthrow the righteous in judgment.
6 A fool’s lips enter into contention, And his mouth calls for blows.
7 A fool’s mouth is his destruction, And his lips are the snare of his soul.
8 The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, And they go down into the inmost body.
Questions to Think About
- Do you have any friends or “friends” who gossip or talk bad about others a lot? What do you do whenever they start gossiping?
- Why do you think that people gossip? Why do think that people enjoy listening to gossip? Why do you think that the Bible says gossip is wrong?
- How are you doing with controlling your own speech right now? Do you notice that certain friends help you to avoid gossiping and instead speak more kind and encouraging words to others? Maybe you should spend more time with them!