Proverbs 18:8 “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.”
talebearer – to murmur, whisper, backbite, slander (Strong’s Concordance)
talebearer – A person who officiously tells tales; one who impertinently communicates intelligence or anecdotes, and makes mischief in society by his officiousness [meddling]. (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary)
Compare Proverbs 18:8 to Proverbs 26:22.
Proverbs 26:22 "The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly."
God repeats this verse for us, word for word! Said once is enough to heed it. Said twice? What are we speaking? Have you ever felt the pain of murmurs or whispers about you? A lie is the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” These type words cause deep hurt – not just casual discomfort. Avoid words that would lead others to believe something untrue about someone else. Many idle words are thrown around without thought, and we will give an account for each one that we speak. Sometimes, even little complaints that we habitually utter out of our discontentment of our circumstances can cause hurt to others.
My words matter. Your words matter. Words are a gift God gave us as a means of communication. I want to communicate encouragement through edifying words. The Holy Spirit is constantly bringing this to my attention – my need to speak wise words. I have enough to work on in my own heart than to have time to set the world straight by telling what I know or what I suspect. This is not advocating putting my head in the sand, avoiding truth, and refusing to deal with errors. Thinking before speaking is a wise practice which lends to speaking helpful, inspiring, necessary truth to necessary people. Kindness is always in style, but more importantly, it is a Biblical instruction. I printed out the above poster from Pinterest to place in plain view.
“Before you speak: THINK. Is it… True? Helpful? Inspiring? Necessary? Kind?"
Proverbs 16:28 “A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends."
Proverbs 26:20 “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out : so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth."
Proverbs 11:13 “A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.”
Proverbs 20:19 “He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.”