17 He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.
18 As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death,
19 So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?
20 Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.
21 As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.
22 The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
23 Burning lips and a wicked heard are like a potsherd covered with silver dross.
24 He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him;
25 When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart.
26 Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation.
27 Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.
28 A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.
You may be able to guess from the passage that this weeks study is about gossip. Wow is it an easy thing to do. But far too often we go ahead and talk about people behind their backs without ever thinking about it or how it could possibly affect us, the people we talk about, and others around us.
I woke from a dream this morning, a dream based on this very idea. So it was an easy decision what to write on today.
In my dream, I had posted a message here on THIS forum, and in this message I talked about some crazy person on facebook. Now, this crazy person wasn't really crazy, I was just using that to describe them I guess. There wasn't a real person that I know, not that I can recall anyway. But, I obviously thought this person odd, and I mentioned that in a post on this site. I knew this person wasn't the type to join a forum like this, so I had no worries about what I said. Well, this person did happen to look at the site and read what I had written, and they joined the site to call me out in front of everyone. Wow, did I feel terrible.
Let's take a look at the text above...
I just love how the scriptures compare things sometimes. In verse 17 it says that messing in other people's affairs is like taking a dog by the ears. Do you think it would be wise to grab a dog by the ears? I wouldn't do it. I imagine it would be a good way to get bit. But, we see that danger and know it's a bad idea. With gossip, we don't always see the results of it. We definitely have more trouble in seeing those dangers ahead of time then we would in realizing that we shouldn't grab a dog by the ears. But the end result is likely the same.
Verse 18 and 19 mentions a man that laughs it off and says that he's just joking. Saying you're joking when you're talking behind someone's back is a lie, and you are indeed casting out arrows of death.
Can a forest fire burn without a forest? All the strife that is caused by gossip wouldn't be if people would just not do that.
verse 22, the words of a talebearer are like wounds. Indeed they are. I know a smooth talking person that has talked badly of me before, and people have listened to him and it has affected my relationships with some people. It hurts, and it hurts bad.
The end of that passage speaks clearly about how gossip can affect the very person that is spreading it. It will return upon him.
I think at one time or another, many of us are guilty of this. It is easy to talk about someone when they're not there.
I just reminded myself of something a pastor did at a church when I was younger. He took a tube of toothpaste and squeezed it all out onto a plate. He then asked for a volunteer to come forward, and then asked them to put all that toothpaste back in the tube.
Once you open your mouth and talk about another person, you cannot take them back.
And while the dream I had this morning was about something online, this of course is true everywhere you go. So, next time you think of something you want to say about someone else, think really hard about it and what the results could be.
Lord, I pray that we all might take things like this more seriously, and to follow the golden rule and love our neighbor's as ourselves. Help us to control our tongues and use that powerful force for good alone.
A new subject or passage each week for all to discuss.
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