Without wood a fire goes out;Proverbs 26:20 NIV
without a gossip a quarrel dies down.
Conflict! Everywhere we turn today, there is conflict. There is conflict between individuals, groups, and nations. And it seems only to be getting worse. There are many reasons for this conflict, but one of them is addressed by this proverb. And this is the one that seems to be at the heart of much of the conflict between people.
Gossip! The Hebrew word here means to complain or to grumble. I don’t like what someone else has done. So I complain about it to other people. I pass along the juicy details of that other person’s actions. And, potentially, the hurt that it has caused me. And now, it is not just something between that person and me. I have involved other people. People who will likely sympathize with me and take my side. The conflict has grown.
Solomon here compares gossip to throwing fuel onto a fire. The more wood I throw in, the bigger and hotter the fire becomes. In a similar fashion, the more I gossip, complain, or grumble, the greater the problem grows. And the greater the problem grows, the more damage it causes.
Choose instead not to feed the fire. Refrain from gossiping and complaining. If you have a problem with someone, talk with them about it; not other people. And, by doing so, you will likely keep the problem from growing out of control.
This is a proverb, and as such, is a general principle. It is possible that you can do nothing to put out the fire. But, it is generally true that if you restrain in adding fuel to the fire, it will eventually go out.