Proverbs 20:19 - Avoid Gossip.
Proverbs 20:19 - Avoid Gossip.
Proverbs 20:19 (TNIV) A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid
anyone who talks too much.
Proverbs 20:19 (CWR) A gossip can never keep a secret, so don't
share confidences with a person who talks too much.
CONTEXT: Proverbs of Solomon: Proverbs 10:1-22:16.
If you are wise, you will consider the consequences of your
decisions and actions. You will ask, "What about afterward?'
The afterward of strong drink (v. l) is not pleasant, and the
afterward of starting trouble (v. 2) could be dangerous. Better to stop
the trouble at the beginning (v. 3).
Sleep is essential to good health, but the afterward of too
much sleep is poverty (vv. 4, 13). A crooked business deal may be
profitable financially, but you will not enjoy the aftertaste (v. 17). You
may enjoy getting your inheritance now, but afterward it may do you
more harm than good (v. 21). Remember what happened to the prodigal
son (Luke 15:11ff.).
Rash promises have an afterward of regret (v. 25; Ecc. 5:1-7),
but loving discipline has an afterward of reform. Ponder Hebrews
12:3-11, and especially note v. 11. [Chapter by Chapter Bible Commentary
by Warren Wiersbe]
COMMENTARY APPLICATION With Emphasis On Verse 19.
One of the more visible ways Christians represent Jesus is
through their words. It has been said that a person speaks about thirty
thousand words in an average day. That is a considerable amount of
"representation time"--especially when you consider the power of the spoken word.
Your words have the power to build up or to destroy, help or hurt,
encourage or discourage. The tongue is small but can do great damage
(James 3:6, November 19).
Proverbs 20:19 speaks in particular of gossip, warning us not
to keep company with people who talk too much. Gossip takes many
forms. We can put someone down in order to feel superior. We can say
things behind a person's back in order to cause hurt. We can gossip
just to have a good laugh. Unfortunately, gossip "separates the best
of friends" (Proverbs 16:28, June 9) and will ruin your good
reputation (Proverbs 25:10, October 12). Jesus said that we will be held
accountable for every idle word we speak (Matthew 12:36, January 18). Ask
God to give you the courage not to participate in gossip. Instead,
turn the conversation to more positive and uplifting topics. [The One
Year Bible for New Believers re Pro. 20:19]
Constance Cameron tells the story of a lesson her mother
taught her. One day, when she was about eight, she was playing beside
an open window. Inside, Mrs. Brown was confiding a personal problem
to Constance's mother. After Mrs. Brown had gone, the mother
realized that Constance had heard everything that had been said. She
called her in and said, "If Mrs. Brown had left her purse here today,
would we give it to anyone else?"
"Of course not," the girl said. Her mother went on, "Mrs.
Brown left something more precious than her pocketbook today. She left
a story that could make many people unhappy. That story is not
ours to give to anyone. It is still hers, even though she left it
here. So we shall not give it to anyone. Do you understand?"
She did. And from that day on, whenever a friend would share a
confidence or even engage in careless gossip, she considered what they said
to be the personal property of the other person--and not hers to
give to anyone else.
What a great way to squelch gossip. Look at the confidences of
others as their personal property, not to be given away to someone
else. The old saying bears great truth: "If you don't have something
positive to say about someone or something, it's best not to say anything
at all" [God's Little Devotional Bible]
In 1752, a group of Methodist men, including John Wesley,
signed a covenant which every man agreed to hang on his study wall. The
six articles of this solemn agreement were as follows:
1. That we will not listen or willingly inquire after ill
concerning one another;
2. That, if we do hear any ill of each other, we will not be
forward to believe it;
3. That as soon as possible we will communicate what we hear by
speaking or writing to the person concerned;
4. That until we have done this, we will not write or speak a
syllable of it to any other person;
5. That neither will we mention it, after we have done this, to
any other person;
6. That we will not make any exception to any of these rules
unless we think ourselves absolutely obliged in conference.
Talk about an Anti Gossip Pact!
Always remember: the person who tells you "Don't tell this to
a soul" has probably told all the souls you know. [God's Little
Devotional Bible re Pro.11:13]
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