I love learning new things and gaining understanding from the timeless wisdom of history, which is why I find the book of Proverbs to be such a fascinating, inspiring and slightly confusing book all at the same time!
Proverbs 20:19 shares some wisdom about who you share your secrets, dreams and goals with, it seemed pretty straightforward at first glance. Check it out:
19 Gossips can’t keep secrets, so never confide in blabbermouths. (The Message)
At first I didn’t think much of it and I started to read on to vs 20 but I was drawn back to vs 19 and I read it over a few more times. When a verse catches my attention, I like to look it up in a few translations to help me get a fuller picture of what the original text may be saying and how it might apply in my life today.
19 Don’t tell your secrets to a gossip unless you want them broadcast to the world. (TLB)
19 A slanderer reveals secrets; so have nothing to do with a babbler! (NASB)
19 A gossip goes around telling secrets, so don’t hang around with chatterers. (NLT)
19 A gossip betrays confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much. (NIV)
19 A blabbermouth will reveal your secrets, so stay away from people who can’t keep their mouths shut. (TPT)
I mean it seemed straightforward enough as I was reading it, be careful who you share your dreams with, be careful who you confide in because there are people out there who like to gossip. Gossip betrays trust and can be incredibly hurtful and destructive.
The dictionary defines gossip as:
1. casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.
"he became the subject of much local gossip"
engage in gossip.
"they would start gossiping about her as soon as she left"
As I was thinking about this verse and contemplating all of the people in my life and where they were on the blabbermouth to slander-er scale, I remember the verse in Matthew, remove the log from your own eye before you try to remove the speck from your neighbours eye. (paraphrasing)
And then it really hit me, what if I am the one that others should be staying away from? What if I am the one who gossips and talks too much about those in my life that I care about?
How often do we read the bible and we automatically put ourselves in the role as the one who needs to be protected from the gossipers or delivered from the oppressors? What if, sometimes we are the gossipers? What if, at times we are the ones who are betraying confidence that others have put in us?
Verse 19 really hit me, and not in the way I expected it to. I know I am so often guilty of reading the bible and then thinking of all of the people that it could apply to, but I forget to look in the mirror and be honest about my own life and see if it applies to me.
It seems so easy in today’s world to be defensive, point fingers and talk poorly about those who make a mistake, hold a different point of view or disagree with us, especially with the extra courage that social media seems to give so many of us as we hide behind our screens.
My takeaway from Proverbs 20:19 is less of a warning for me to be careful who I share with, and more of a reminder for me to use the power of my words for good, to build up and bring life and not to destroy others and tear them down. It’s a reminder of how easily I can be part of the gossip if I am not consciously choosing not to be.
As you go about your day, take some time to reflect on your words and choose to speak (or type ) only words that bring life
"Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything." 1 Peter 4:10 (The Message)