Proverbs 26:17-22 17 Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears. 18 Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death 19 is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, "I am only joking!" 20 For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases. 21 As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife. 22 The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.
How do we handle strife and contention within the body of the church? How do we control our tongue?
1) Be sure not to meddle in quarrels that are not your own. –One does not grab a dog by the ears and not get bit. So also—if we hear of a quarrel or a fight—that so-and-so is offended because someone did such-and-such.
a) We are not to be a party to the dispute.
b) We are not to take sides.
c) We should not compare notes: “I see what you mean—because that same person has done this and hurt me in another instance”.
d) We should not keep records of wrongs—particularly when we hear how so-and-so has wronged so-and-so.
2) If we hear whispers, we are to put them out. –a fire dies when it doesn’t have fuel so also where there is no whispering or ‘swapping stories’ or “sharing concerns” quarreling ceases.
3) Strife will continue when people are unwilling to deal with issues. A quarrelsome person is a person who does not follow Biblical principles to actually resolve things.
When we become a party to gossip, it is not simply enough not to repeat the tales we hear. In fact the gossiper will often just take his little hot coal and look elsewhere for some tender kindling with which to start a fire. But when the whisperer is gently rebuffed and honestly confronted with things statements like "you should not be talking in such a manner" it becomes like water on his hot coal.
We may not be participating in the gossip, but do we take advantage of the opportunity we have to douse the choice morsel of gossip? When someone comes to us with gossip we can and should take positive steps to see the hot coal is put out. Simply ignoring it or not repeating this will not by itself stop the spread of gossip.
*This post simply reflects some devotional notes from a Bible study I did a few years back*