Beware the Words of the Gossip and Flatterer
20) Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down. 21) As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife. 22) The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts. 23) Like a coating of glaze over earthenware are fervent lips with an evil heart. 24) A malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but in his heart he harbors deceit. 25) Though his speech is charming, do not believe him, for seven abominations fill his heart. 26) His malice may be concealed by deception, but his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly. 27) If a man digs a pit, he will fall into it; if a man rolls a stone, it will roll back on him. 28) A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin.
The gossip and flatterer are one and the same. He stirs up the pot with his gossip (v. 20), and tries to bring strife between brothers (v. 21). To the naive and unsuspecting, his words are swallowed hook, line, and sinker (v. 22). The gossip’s words are as smooth as glass (v. 23) and always seek to build up his listener, while tearing down his victim (v. 24). Deep in his heart, there is malice toward all except himself (v. 25). Rest assured that he will be discovered eventually for what he really is (v. 26), because he is just setting a trap for himself (v. 27). Finally, the gossip hates all who listen to his words, as well as those who are his victims (v. 28). He is operating in exact antithesis to the law of love, which seeks no harm for its neighbor (Romans 13:10).
Why does the gossip and flatterer do what he does? Why do these “abominations fill his heart” (v. 25)? He is simply attempting to elevate himself in the eyes of others. He is a victim of his own pride and is self-deceived. The wise person will see right through his smooth words to the malicious schemes and treachery in his heart.
Prayer of Application
Dear Lord, help me never to utter words detrimental to another person. And keep me from flattery to gain some kind of advantage. Rather, Lord, help me to expose this kind of evil.
Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley