Whispers and Flames

Whisperers Eat Fires

There’s a reason we don’t put out fires: we love the action.

The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;
they go down into the inner parts of the body.
Proverbs 26:22

We don’t extinguish drama because we enjoy it. We’re not built to let fires die out. We are fire eaters, not fire fighters. Though that may sound silly, it correlates the image of fire in verses 20 and 21 with the picture of eating in verse 22.

Proverbs 26:22 is verbatim with Proverbs 18:8. When a proverb is repeated like this, it contains a key nugget of wisdom. This is a sad, but commonly true description of human character: The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels. Delicious morsels are a noun form of a verb that means to swallow greedily. That these delicious morsels go down into the inner parts of the body means we scarf them down.

We love to listen to drama. We delight in bits and pieces of juicy gossip. They are delicious, lip-smacking, finger-licking, and good to the last drop.

It’s why reality television (and soap operas before them) fascinate our culture. It’s why producers of reality TV always allot time for soliloquy in every show, separating a character in a soundproof room so we can hear her slander and rip the housemates. And we eat it up. We get a little and we want more. We’re entertained by relational conflict, deception, bad-mouthing and revenge. It entertains us.

We love us some dirt. Whether by instant messages, text messages, Facebook walls, notes in class, room corner conversations, or late night phone chats, we eat it up, then vomit it back to others. Most of us–that is, those of us in the church–act like our motives are pure and justify our participation in the drama because we care. But under the smokescreen of sympathy we eat and inflame the fire.

Though whispers are delicious morsels to us, they are bitter and foul to God’s palate. Whispering drama destroys like poison. As it seeps it ruins the reputations of others. It kills our credibility. It undermines unity. It wrecks relationships and friendships. It hurts.

The first two proverbs in this unit deal with our talking; this third one addresses our listening. We are not only what we say, we are what we listen to. Whispering is wrong and so is paying attention to whispers. Our ears play a big part in drama too.