The one who conceals hatred utters lies,
and the one who spreads slander is certainly a fool.
When words abound, transgression is inevitable,
but the one who restrains his words is wise.
Have you ever found yourself in a conversation and not known how you got there? I have. We started talking about something that I found interesting, then one thing led to another, and somehow I’m having a conversation about something I know nothing (and probably care nothing) about. I’m guessing you’ve been in that situation.
What I have found is that those conversations are usually with people who like to talk…a lot! I’m not talking about your average conversationalist. I’m talking about someone who can speak in monologues for extended lengths of time without stopping to let someone else in on the discussion. At first I was interested in the discussion, but that interest has turned into a feat of concentration. I’m no longer trying to be engaged in the discussion, I’m just trying to stay conscious of it so I don’t come across as disrespectful.
The point is, don’t be Sir Talks A Lot. Don’t be the person who says way too much and eventually says something that is untrue. It would be better to stop talking and let the conversation stop. Or if you’re the kind of person that needs to feel like you’re the smartest person in the world and you have to win all conversations, let the person who really does know more than you win one.
When words abound, you are bound to say something incorrect. If you find yourself talking to much, you’re going to run out of things to say or come to the end of your knowledge on the subject and have to start making stuff up. I’ve been there. I’ve run out of insightful things to say in a conversation, so I made something up to try and sound smart, only, I sounded not so smart.
The other proverb for today is about gossip and putting on a front. In other words, when someone pretends to like you but behind your back they are telling people the opposite. The one who spreads gossip is a fool. The one who passes on what they hear from others who are gossiping is just as bad if not worse than the originator of the gossip.
I’ll be honest and say I’m not sure about the first half of verse 18. What I’m not sure of is, if we’re not supposed to conceal hatred, does that mean we’re supposed to tell people to their face that we don’t like them? I don’t know. Maybe we’re just supposed to avoid them. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what we learn from the rest of the book to help us make a judgement on this proverb.