The words of gossips are like choice snacks;
they go down to the inmost parts.
Have you ever had soup on a chilly day? Hot chocolate after skiing? Remember that feeling when it goes down your throat and you can feel the warmth and deliciousness in your belly? How it makes you happy, gives you sustenance and brings you back to life?
Solomon is using this idea – one of delicious snacks- to illustrate the depth that gossip goes to. If a rumor or gossip is said about you, doesn’t it hit you in the gut? Make you feel nauseous? Mess up your day?
This is the power of our words. As much as we hate that feeling, we have to remember that we are sometimes the cause of it.
It may seem repetitive, but many of the wise words of Proverbs are about what we say, whether we are foolish with our words, or wise with our words.
Make it a habit to only let wise words come out of your mouth. Remind others around you of the pain of gossip as well.
Proverbs 17: 27 & 28
27Wise are those who restrain their talking;
people with understanding are coolheaded.
28 Fools who keep quiet are deemed wise;
those who shut their lips are smart.
Do you ever talk too much? Say the wrong thing? Stick your foot in your mouth? I constantly find that if I try to respond back quickly to someone’s joke or teasing, I tend to say something that is ruder than what I would usually say. Then I’m embarrassed, apologetic, and ashamed of how I made that person feel. If I wait and think my response through, then I’m usually nicer and sometimes can just skip a response after all. Taming your tongue is a very difficult thing. Read James 3:1-11, it shows us the importance of what we say and how we say it. If we make it a point to always speak kindness and love, then it becomes easier to train our brain away from saying evil things.
Proverbs 16: 3
Commit your work to the Lord,
and your plans will succeed.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
Same verse, two different places. Subtle differences, but same meaning. What does it mean to commit your plans to the Lord? Does it mean your Friday nights? Does it mean your lunch hours?
Does it mean your career, your relationships, your housing, your prayer life?
Why is it good to commit your work to the Lord? What would happen if you didn’t?
How would it change our day to day living if we were committing our way to God?
Proverbs 14: 30
A peaceful mind gives life to the body,
but jealousy rots the bones.
I think I need this reminder that keeping my mind peaceful, keeps my body healthy. Sinful things like jealousy, sloth, greed, gluttony, vanity, lust, wrath can all affect my emotional, mental, physical and spiritual health. They can eat away at my well-being, tempt me to do harmful things to my body, and confuse me on right/wrong. As Galatians 5 says: The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control.
If we keep those in mind, we can keep a healthy body and soul.
God, please keep me filled with the fruits of the spirit. Amen.