"Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent…he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered … in an abundance of counselors there is safety." – Proverbs 11:12-14 ESV
We learn a lot about people by the way they react to others. Proverbs tells us that some “belittle” their neighbors. The Hebrew word here suggests treating them as being insignificant.
As we interact with others, we may be irritated by their mannerism, disagree with their views, or conflict with their lifestyle or language. We may view them as insignificant and unimportant. As a result, we may be tempted to disrespect or belittle them through our words, gestures, or attitudes. Some delight in spreading rumors. Instead of being careful about their words, they look for opportunities to find things to criticize.
But the Bible tells us that “a man of understanding” does not attack them or talk about them with others. Instead, he has discernment, knowing when to remain silent. He knows when to talk and when to speak. The Bible says that “he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.” Wise people are not anxious to share what they observe, but they have discernment. They are concerned about others, not revealing their secrets or talking about them.
Finally, discerning people are not quick to make judgments on their own. They recognize the need for discernment and Godly counsel. In your life, seek to avoid being a gossip and spreading rumors. Seek understanding from God. Pray about your observations. And, if necessary, seek an “abundance of counselors” before making any judgments.
PrayerFather, give me discernment. Help me not be a gossip. Make me a person of understanding. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Extended ReadingProverbs 11