17 Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears
is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own.
18 Like a maniac shooting
flaming arrows of death
19 is one who deceives their neighbor
and says, “I was only joking!”
20 Without wood a fire goes out;
without a gossip a quarrel dies down.
21 As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire,
so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife.
22 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
they go down to the inmost parts.
23 Like a coating of silver dross on earthenware
are fervent[a] lips with an evil heart.
24 Enemies disguise themselves with their lips,
but in their hearts they harbor deceit.
25 Though their speech is charming, do not believe them,
for seven abominations fill their hearts.
26 Their malice may be concealed by deception,
but their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
27 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it;
if someone rolls a stone, it will roll back on them.
28 A lying tongue hates those it hurts,
and a flattering mouth works ruin.
Shooting Your Mouth Off
Does God really want you to say something? Will you be speaking God’s truth into a situation? Is what you are about to say ‘loving? These questions should rush through our minds before we shoot our mouths off.
Information gathering is a healthy precursor to speaking. So often we form opinions based on little or no information. With those we are closest to, we have a caricature of them in our minds which distorts how we hear what they say. For example, if we believe our best friend is needy, we will hear everything they say through a needy filter. A wise person tries to believe the best about people (1 Corinthians 13) and delights in seeing things as they truly are.
A lot of words are concerned with self. How do I maintain my image, hide my insecurities, control my world? Of course, these are all things that God wants to heal. The healthy person doesn’t jump in to consciously or subconsciously stroke their own ego – the healthy person steps in carefully to help others for the glory of God.
- What is compoared to grabbing a stray dog by the ears?
- Describe how a stray dog would react to being grabbed by its ears.
- How are the heart and mouth related in this passage?
- How do you check your motives when you open your mouth?
- When you are afraid, you fight it with anger. If you have spoken angry words in the last 24 hours, of what were you afraid?