Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. Proverbs 26:20
Throughout my childhood, and even in my own home now, we have heated our house by burning wood in a woodstove. I can tell you that there is no better heat on a cold winter night than the heat that emanates from that little black box sitting in the living room. It takes a lot of hard work to keep enough wood split to keep it burning, but in the end, it is well worth it. The only problem comes on those cold winter days or nights when I get busy working on something, and I just forget about taking care of the fire. As soon as I notice that it is starting to get cold in the house, I run over to check the fire, but sometimes I am already too late. The coals have burned down too far, and I have to struggle to get it going again.
The book of Proverbs deals very specifically with the talebearer, or the gossip – someone who cannot hold their tongue in the matter of spreading stories. So many things are blown out of proportion because of the story that is spread by a gossip. Just like the woodstove in my house: when it runs out of wood, it ceases to produce heat. The gossip, when he ceases to spread his stories, produces no strife.
When a friend tells you something in confidence, he expects you to keep it to yourself. Many times, people want someone else to know their struggles. It is hard for them to keep the struggles inside, so they will tell someone they think they can trust with their secret or their issue. So often, the person to whom he told his secret gets among a group of guys, or even with another of his friends, and, trying to be “funny” or “cool,” will share the secrets that were told to him in confidence. Even if it happens to be true, repeating it is still gossip. If you want to be a trusted friend, or someone to whom others feel they can come when they have struggles, then don’t be a gossip.
You see, at the very base of the fire started by the gossip is his pride. In his effort to lift himself up, he puts others down by slandering their names. And the fire is started. Often it burns out of control and even ends up burning the one who started it. Be a true friend and hold your tongue!
Read also: Proverbs 20:17-28
Quote of the day: "He who tells the faults of others to you will tell your faults to others at the first opportunity.”