Proverbs 10:17-20 He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth. He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool. In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise. The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth.
My parents use to tell me, “If you can’t say anything good about somebody, then don’t say anything at all.” What they were trying to teach me was not to talk bad about someone.
In today’s passage, we hear the same thing, only in King Solomon’s language. “He that uttereth slander is a fool.” It means to bad mouth, and degrade someone is foolish. It makes you look childish, and insecure about yourself.
However, earlier in that same passage it seems to say almost the opposite. “He that hideth hatred with lying lips…is a fool.” Does this mean then, not to say anything would make you foolish as well? Well, not exactly. You have to see the word “lying” in there. To say nice things about someone, and be lying, is just as foolish as badmouthing them.
So what’s a person to do? Verse 19 holds the clue. Don’t just be running your mouth to see how fast your lips can fly. If you see someone doing something wrong, approach that person in private to deal with the matter in a loving, and caring way. If someone deserves praise, give him or her open praise, but don’t go overboard. People can see when you’re making things up. Overall, it comes down to being honest in all things.
Consequently, maybe the saying my parents used should have been, “if you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all to others.” However, if you truly care about someone, you need to go to him or her privately, and lovingly help them when possible.
The Bible says we need to be ready, and willing to forgive people of their trespasses toward us. Forgiving is not forgetting. Forgiving is you not holding it against them again. Is there someone you need to forgive? Give it to the Lord today.
THROUGH THE BIBLE WITH DAILY PROVERBS
1 Kings 8 – 10 / Proverbs 10:17-20
THROUGH THE BIBLE OLD & NEW TESTAMENT DAILY
1 Samuel 2-4 / Luke 16:18-31
Living In His Word Ministries
“Getting people into the Word of God…
… and the Word of God into people.”
Dr. Franklin J. Senters Th.D.
Founder and Executive Director