Proverbs 16:27

An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.

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Many people love to find others’ faults or failures. Then they share the gossip with others. But God and Solomon declared such people are ungodly. Are you one of them?

If your goal is to be noble and virtuous, then hate the thought of finding faults in anyone else’s life, and also hate the common desire to spread the secrets found. Such perverse persons are far from wisdom and success. God and good men hate these talebearers.

Wicked people love the sins of others. They look for them; they listen for them; they dig for them. They are drawn to them like sharks or hyenas to blood. They rejoice when someone falls. They hunt for sins; they eavesdrop on conversations; they snoop. They recall ancient sins. They spread the failures by backbiting, talebearing, and whispering.

Today’s so-called investigative reporting hunts the sins of many, especially those in authority. They dig up evil, buy betrayals, and extort witnesses. They modify facts, twist motives, stalk victims, and reward tattlers. They rape reputations and race to publish lies. Why? To feed the insatiable appetite of a generation of self-righteous leeches! They have picked their niche to make a buck – to publish faults of the famous for lustful readers.

Many publications today spread as much muck about others, pictorial or verbal, as they can find. Think paparazzi. Think England. Think Princess Diana. Any fault, failure, or sin she or any person has or had is between God and herself and her family. It is not your business or anyone else’s. But the wicked are always dredging, looking for any filth they can sensationalize and spread for a dollar. These media whores should make you sick.

But what about America? Who cares if Thomas Jefferson had a slave-mistress, though he likely did not? If he did, it is between God and Thomas Jefferson. How does that affect his learned opinion against central banks? What if Bill Clinton smoked marijuana at Oxford? What if Nancy Reagan resorted to astrology at times? What if George W. Bush drank too much during and after his Yale years? This list could be multiplied indefinitely.

The political vetting process, if limited to public conduct in public office, may have some benefit for evaluating a candidate and estimating future performance. But what he or she did privately in high school or college years is quite irrelevant, especially with decades of mature conduct following those youthful years when foolishness is bound in the heart (Pr 22:15). What could be dredged from your youthful past to be published to discredit you?

A fire burns in the lips of these ungodly wretches: they must spread the sins they discover (Ps 39:1-3). The desire to backbite, tattle, whisper, and slander overwhelms them. They love to expose others’ failures. They have no conscience. They enjoy destroying peace and reputations. They are brute beasts with twisted hearts. The blackness of their souls is matched only by the blackness of their eternity (II Pet 2:17; Jude 1:13; Rev 21:8,27).

Envy, self-righteousness, and cruelty control these persons. They live in constant envy, for they resent the superiority of others. They are losers, and they can only justify their existence by destroying the reputations of others. They think themselves righteous, when they can reveal the secret sins of another, though their hearts have more wickedness than any of their victims. They are cruel without regard for the pain and damage they cause.

Solomon warned often about wicked talkers (Pr 6:12-19; 12:18; 16:28; 17:9; 18:8; 26:20-22). So did other Bible writers (Ps 52:2-4; 57:4; Rom 1:29-30; II Cor 12:20; I Tim 6:3-5). God’s repetition and emphasis tells you it is a common and serious sin. Isaiah ripped those that make a man an offender for a word or for a minor fault (Is 29:20-21). James called the tongue a world of iniquity set on fire of hell (Jas 3:6). Are you one of them?

These perverse persons see David’s adultery and ignore his 60 years of astute wisdom, noble character, and great passion for God. Christians have loved David for 3000 years in spite of his sins, because they were exceptions. Jesus was even named after David.

These brute beasts see Peter’s denial of Jesus in His hour of need and ignore Jesus’ forgiveness of Peter and His promotion of him among the apostles (Luke 22:32; Jn 21:15-19; Acts 1:15-26). How many of them have two books of the Bible named after them?

Two lessons can be taken from this proverb. First, you should scrupulously avoid ever sharing negative information about another person unless it is absolutely necessary, as in a court case where you are sworn to reveal to proper authorities a person’s actions. Any sharing beyond this should be carefully examined as to motive and consequences, so that you will not be guilty of damaging another’s reputation or hardening your conscience.

Second, if you observe or hear someone spreading faults about another person, you have found an ungodly man. Shut his mouth with righteous anger, as Solomon taught you (Pr 25:23). Reject him from your company, as David would (Ps 101:1-8). God hates these scoundrels, and so should you (Pr 6:12-19; Ps 15:1-5; 139:19-22). Make sure you diligently try to protect the reputations and souls of others at all times.

What if, instead of digging up evil about others, most people looked for the good conduct of others, and actually spread that instead! What a different place the world would be! Reputations would be protected, and honor and respect could grow on every side. Instead of sin being casually encouraged by its popularity among the rich and famous, nobility and virtue would increase due to the regular hearing and reading of the good acts of men.