Proverbs 26:18-19 "As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, 19 So is the man that deceiveth his neighbor, and saith, Am not I in sport?"
Mad (H3856) – without self-control; controlled by anger, a person who does not act rationally, insane, rabid.
Neighbor (H7453) – a near or close associate, friend, husband, brother, another. – Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary
The person who thinks its just a joke to deceive or betray his neighbor is like the insanely wicked man who throws fire brands onto his neighbor’s house and land, that shoots arrows at him, and uses instruments of death against his neighbor. What a powerful statement. Telling lies or hurling out information that is defamatory to one’s character is a serious offense. It can burn, wound, and kill. In other words, the person that defames another’s character might as well have burned, wounded, or killed him.
While we might say, I would never do that. If we make light of speaking evil of another’s character through gossip and slander we are just as bad as the wicked mad man. We say, "Oh I was just kidding, it is no big deal. Man, that’s life; get used to it." Never under estimate the power of your words. Just as evil words have the power to destroy, think of what even greater power the Words of Life have. Death and life are in the power of the tongue (Prov. 18:21) I pray that the words of our mouth and the meditations of our heart would be acceptable in the sight of the Lord, our strength, and our Redeemer (Psalm 19:14). Let’s be people who speak the Truth in love, and that seek to exhort and encourage one another (Eph. 4:15; Heb. 3:13, 10:24).
What has God taught you today, and with whom will you share it? Do you value other people’s reputation? Have you been like the man who betrays his neighbor through gossip and slander and thinks its no big deal ? Our speech ought go through three doors before it exits our mouth.
- Door #1: "Is it true?"
- Door #2: "Is it necessary?"
- Door #3: "Does it edify another?"
If our speech can’t make it through all three doors, we should not say what we were going to say. Do not be like the mad man. If you have been like the mad man, don’t cover it up but confess it to God and those you have offended, and God will give you mercy (Prov. 28:13, 1 John 1:9).