Did you know that God views gossip and slander as pretty much the same thing? That probably does not sit all that well with some who engage in the sin of gossip - but really do not see themselves as slanderers. Yet from what we will learn in today's proverb, pretty much one is the same as the other. The first thing we learn from today's proverb is that a slanderer reveals secrets. Usually when someone tells you something in confidence they do not want their information spread around. They would prefer that you keep the information to yourself. But the slanderer takes this information that should remain secret and spreads it freely. Since the term "slanderer" is used, we can only assume that the way this information is used is to tear someone down. The "secret" information that they hold about someone else is used to destroy them in the eyes of others. Whether shared as a fact – or as often happens in Christian circles – a prayer request – it has effectively slandered the one who shared it in confidence.
This Proverb therefore says that it is very unwise to "associate with a gossip. When we learn that a particular person is not trustworthy with secrets, we need to steer clear of an association with them. They are a gossip. The problem often is that gossips often congregate – around each other’s gossip. Therefore the wise man realizes that in hearing gossip he should check his own heart to make sure he himself is not part of a gossip circle. Once he determines this – he then should limit any association with the person who shared their gossip with him.
Loose lips sink ships. This was a saying during the war that spoke of the danger of secrets being revealed. The danger was that a spy could gain information about one of our ships going to help in the fight with Germany. In the wrong hands this information could have proven to be deadly. Therefore one needed to be very careful how they spoke – and even more careful what they spoke to whom. Another saying is also appropriate here. Loose lips sink lives. Gossips are guilty of slander that often sets someone’s life on fire. Their careless words cause havoc to come upon others. The truly wise man – avoids such people.