Proverbs 26:20 Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down.
It’s human nature to be curious about a juicy piece of information. People want to be in the know, and they want to hear all about who did what or said what. Proverbs teaches us the importance of avoiding participation in controversy through gossip: “Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down.” People think that they are just passive observers when they share and listen to the details of some argument or disagreement. This verse teaches us, this is a mistake. When we listen to gossip about a disagreement or fight, we expose ourselves to a specific version of the story. By listening we enable the escalation of tensions. The side of the story we have listened to skews our view of the people involved. We are drawn into certain viewpoints and opinions about the people and facts involved. The more the quarrel spreads, the more difficult it is for reconciliation. Gossip is never harmless. We must be on guard against gossip and prevent the spread of damaging speech that threatens the peace between neighbors. Next time you are approached with a juicy piece of gossip, stop. If there is no way for you to help the situation, politely decline to listen to harmful speech.