Proverbs 26:20

Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.

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Disputes, fights, and bad blood end quickly, when wicked men stop spreading innuendos, rumors, and negative information. A fire goes out as soon as there is nothing more to burn, and conflicts end as soon as there is no more irritation made. Good men have two solemn duties – to never bear tales about others, and to aggressively stop those who do.

Talebearing is a forgotten sin. It is neither understood nor condemned today. Talebearing is spreading injurious or malicious reports about another person. A talebearer is one who officiously spreads reports of private matters to gratify malice or idle curiosity (Pr 20:19). It is commonly called gossip. Bible synonyms are backbiting, tattling, and whispering, which are condemned often (Pr 16:28; 25:23; Rom 1:29-30; II Cor 12:20; I Tim 5:13).

Talebearing is telling negative information about someone to either hurt him or impress a hearer with the news. It does not matter that the information is true. Slander is spreading false information about another person. Backbiting, talebearing, tattling, and whispering are spreading true information about another person that does harm to their reputations.

Malicious talkers, who keep resurrecting and spreading news about enemies, keep conflict alive, when it would otherwise die. These evil persons have no love for peace; they love to stir up trouble (Pr 15:18; 16:27-28; 26:21; 29:22). Good men cover sins and bury them (Pr 10:12; 17:9; I Pet 4:8). They seek to make peace at all times (Jas 3:17-18).

God hates talebearing (Pr 6:12-19; Ps 15:3), which is verbally raping another’s character and reputation. Comparable to being angry with your brother without a cause, talebearing is a violation of the sixth commandment, Thou shalt not kill (Matt 5:21-26). Talebearing causes great pain deep in the soul and relationships of men (Pr 16:28; 17:9; 18:8; 26:22).

Do you hate this sin? Do you guard your lips lest anything negative about another person slips out in the heat of passion or during light chitchat? Do you love others enough to keep from saying something about them that would be derogatory or damaging? If you talk a lot, you likely commit this sin often. Cut your words in half. Make a solemn choice to only say good things that are gracious and edifying about others (Col 4:6; Eph 4:29).

Do you hate those that commit this sin? They should see and feel your righteous anger, when they begin to spill private matters in your presence (Pr 25:23). If you have position or authority to do so, cast such contentious and scornful people out (Pr 22:10). Throwing them out will cause contention, strife, and reproach to end. What a blessing! David would not allow such people near him (Ps 101:4-5). Let all your speech be gracious (Col 4:6).