Proverbs 18 (The Message)

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1 Loners who care only for themselves spit on the common good. 2 Fools care nothing for thoughtful discourse; all they do is run off at the mouth. 3 When wickedness arrives, shame's not far behind; contempt for life is contemptible. 4 Many words rush along like rivers in flood, but deep wisdom flows up from artesian springs. 5 It's not right to go easy on the guilty, or come down hard on the innocent. 6 The words of a fool start fights; do him a favor and gag him. 7 Fools are undone by their big mouths; their souls are crushed by their words. 8 Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy; do you really want junk like that in your belly? 9 Slack habits and sloppy work are as bad as vandalism. 10 God's name is a place of protection - good people can run there and be safe. 11 The rich think their wealth protects them; they imagine themselves safe behind it. 12 Pride first, then the crash, but humility is precursor to honor. 13 Answering before listening is both stupid and rude. 14 A healthy spirit conquers adversity, but what can you do when the spirit is crushed? 15 Wise men and women are always learning, always listening for fresh insights. 16 A gift gets attention; it buys the attention of eminent people. 17 The first speech in a court case is always convincing - until the cross-examination starts! 18 You may have to draw straws when faced with a tough decision. 19 Do a favor and win a friend forever; nothing can untie that bond. 20 Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach; good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest. 21 Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit - you choose. 22 Find a good spouse, you find a good life - and even more: the favor of God! 23 The poor speak in soft supplications; the rich bark out answers. 24 Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.
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