By Al Behel
“Loshon hora” is a Hebrew phrase for negative or cruel speech. The Bible forbids hurtful and negative talk. There are some people who were born in the “objective” case and “kickative” mood. Whenever ideas are presented they find something wrong with them. They speak harsh and critical words to others.
What makes people negative and hurtful? Why do some people always seem to look for the worst in everything? Why do children (and some adults) whine when they don’t get their way or are not given special attention? Why do they explode into tears or angry outbursts? Why do some use intimidation and threats?
It has been said that rudeness is the weak person’s imitation of strength. Those who use put-downs and hurtful words show their own weakness and insecurities. Furthermore, they fail to reflect the spirit of Christ. They lack love and respect for others.
Cruel speech might include damaging remarks about another person. When we say demeaning things about that person we injure him in the minds of those who hear. Gossip and slanderous remarks violates the law of love. Scripture tells us. “’You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law" (Romans 13:9-10). Love is the antidote to gossip and all sins of speech.
Lord, guard our tongues so what we say
Won't hurt and carelessly offend;
Give us the gracious speech of love,
With words that soothe and heal and mend. —Sper
Before saying something to or about another, ask yourself three questions: Is it true?, is it necessary?, and, is it kind? If the answer to all three questions is “yes”, then freely speak what is on your heart. If your words build and encourage, they are like sweet music to the heart. But, if they are loshon hora, they will sting and hurt and destroy.
- Al Behel served the Great Smoky Mountains Church of Christ in Pigeon Forge, TN, for many years prior to this death in April 2022. The congregation may be contacted through their website - https://gsmchurchofchrist.com/
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