Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Lashon Hara

No, that is not the name of a woman I just met today. It is literally “tongue of evil”, a Jewish way of describing the act of using spoken words for destruction.

Apparently the Jews put a ton of emphasis on words that are spoken. Words that come out of the mouth hold more meaning than the words on paper. Words spoken hold significance, potency and power to build and create. There is the notion that we are to use our words with intentionality, that we should always mean what we say, and say what we mean, in a way that builds the world, that brings the world to completion. They find the source of this belief in how God created the world. Before the world, there was God. No earth…then God spoke…and BAM there was light. And God spoke…and BAM there was a separation of the waters. Then God spoke and BAM there were animals and plants and sea plankton. And God spoke and BAM there was this pile of animated dirt called Adam.

So being made in God’s image gives us the same type of potency in our language. We can build, we can create, we can restore with our words.

But we can also use our tongue to destroy. This is Lashon Hara. Anything that doesn’t build up; anything that would destroy the image of God in another person.

Rabbi's put this sin with murder and adultery. If I see murder about to happen, I would try to stop it...I wonder what would happen if I had the same attitude about gossip and backbiting.

So, now, I want to be the kind of person who uses his words to build up, to restore and to recreate. I want my words to be gifts to people.

Ephesians 4.29 says, “Don’t let any unwholesome (that is not bringing things to completion) talk come out of your mouth, but instead only speak those things that are useful to build each other up.” (JKV…Josh Kleinfeld Version)

James 3 talks about the tongue being an unwieldy beast. He was very set in this Jewish mindset…probably found his mode of thinking in lashon hara.

What if I always intended to build up...what if I always checked my spirit when someone was getting ready to give me a dose of the lashon hara?

1 comment:

Kipper said...

Wish you could have said something like this to my congregation before they whittled me down to nothing...