Gossip… talking behind someone’s back… lashon hara… flapping your gums… wagging your tongue… sharing in love…
What do those statements all have in common?
We are not displaying love.
Lashon Hara is a “Hebrew term (Hebrew לשון הרע; “evil tongue”)” and means “derogatory speech about another person. Lashon hara differs from defamation in that its focus is on the use of true speech for a wrongful purpose, rather than falsehood and harm arising.
“Speech is considered to be lashon hara (detraction) if it says something negative about a person or party, is not seriously intended to correct or improve a negative situation, and is true. Statements that fit this description are considered to be lashon hara, regardless of the method of communication that is used, whether it is through face-to-face conversation, a letter, telephone, or email, or even body language.” (To Learn More See Wikipedia)
Lashon hara, gossip (idle talk), and defamation (damaging lies), will all lead to the same outcome… hurt of the one or ones we are speaking about. Worse, when confronted about engaging in any of these types of speech, it often leads to lying to cover it up, excuse it or shift blame. So… how can we stop the merry-go-round, the vicious weaved web of dirty laundry, created by our tongues?
I believe that we should repent of any wrong doing. Scripture clearly states the procedure for resolving an issue with our brother. If this isn’t being followed and we’re talking behind our brother’s back, we are guilty of lashon hara, or gossip, or even defamation, plainly and simply.
Then, next time the urge comes upon us to “share in love”, check our tongues at the door. Don’t engage. And when someone starts speaking it, we simply tell the person we don’t want to hear it we walk away or we close the door or we hang up the phone or . It doesn’t have to be done in ugliness. It doesn’t have to be yelled at the other person.
And it should never be a source for then engaging with someone else.
But, most importantly, Scripture is chockful of warnings and admonitions on keeping the tongue in check. Check these out!
Psalm 15:2,3 – He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, And speaks truth in his heart. He does not slander with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor takes up a reproach against his friend.
Proverbs 17:9 – He who covers an offense promotes love; but he who repeats a matter separates best friends.
Proverbs 13:3 – The one who guards his mouth protects his life; the one who opens his lips invites his own ruin.
Matthew 12:36 – But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
Proverbs 18:7, 8 – A fool’s mouth is his destruction, And his lips are the snare of his soul. The words of a tale-bearer are like dainty morsels, And they go down into the innermost parts of the body.
Matthew 18:15-17 – If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
So… if a brother has wronged us, we aren’t to talk behind their backs, even to share a few things “to help someone else understand”. We aren’t to even go to the elders first… but rather to our brother.
Unfortunately, there is much too much “sharing is caring” going on and not enough true love happening in too many circles of people who call themselves followers of the Most High. Sadly, leadership is often as much involved as any others. And left hurting are those who have become the subject of these inexhaustible tongue baths.
As a community of believers, if we care about one another, we are to display love. Yah has instructed us how to do this. If we aren’t doing that… leadership or lay person (for lack of a better term), we aren’t interested in resolving an issue.
The flipside of the coin is this… if a brother has harmed us… we NEED to go to them and resolve the issue, not sit hurt and stew in unforgiveness. Remember, “For if you forgive men their trespasses,your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive yours.…” (Matthew 6:14, 15)