Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The truth about gossip

Gossip.  What an ugly word.  In Hebrew, there's something similar called “lashon hara” which means “evil tongue.”

The thing is, we're ALL guilty of gossip or lashon hara sometimes. It's our human nature. It's what Paul meant when he in several ways said, "I do those things I do not want to do." (Romans 7:14-15). We constantly fight our carnal natures. Constantly.

Gossip is rampant, especially in places like Facebook where people graze around looking for “cool” stuff to repost.  And what’s sad is that many (if not most) haven't figured out that gossip of ANY type isn't pleasing to YHWH…. 

The way to prevent "reposting gossip" is to first put aside our "carnal nature" that tends to go, "WOW - COOL!" at first glance, and to always ask ourselves: How do I know what I just read is true? Was it from a reliable source or news source?  (And honestly, not even "reliable news sources" are always reliable because these days, the reporters are allowed to insert their personal opinions!) 

Ask yourself:  How did THEY find out? Were they THERE to see it with their own eyes? Did they get it from a witness who saw it with their own eyes? Was that witness reliable, or some crazy kook who "saw what he wanted to see" or skewed the facts? We can't really always know for sure - unless WE were actually there. Trust NO ONE except yourself when it comes to Facebook posts and memes! Memes always have an agenda.... 

Case in point: It's one thing to know something - because you can see and hear it on TV, and then to comment on it. For instance, we know Trump keeps "putting his foot in mouth" with his behavior and the things he says. What he says and does is all over the news, here and now (as opposed to something that happened 200 years ago and the reporter is clearly just speculating). And even with that, we have to make sure that the whole story was reported, instead of just snippets taken out of context.

Regardless, we cannot take as gospel what someone today says about, for instance, George Washington ... that he "had some nasty habits, like picking his nose and smearing it on people." All we know about him is what was written in history books. We can't add or subtract anything. If someone wishes to do that, they HAVE to admit that this is THEIR PERSONAL OPINION. But most people don't! They will simply say, "George Washington was a nasty nose picker" - and many people will run with it, without giving it a second thought, to post it as TRUTH! 

THAT is what constitutes both gossip and "lashon hara" … (Lashon hara is a very serious offense because it is derogatory speech about another person.  It 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 if it says something negative about a person or party, is not previously known to the public, 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.) (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lashon_hara) 

I always hate to, for instance, see memes that suggest Michelle Obama is "really a guy who had a sex change."  My goodness!  I'm NO fan of the Obamas, but whoever started perpetuating that nonsense had BETTER know that for a FACT ...They need to have obtained their “juicy tidbit” from Michelle, herself, or at least know the doctor who performed that sex change, or seen it with their own eyes - because YHWH is NOT happy with lies like that! What kind of a mind would even WANT to perpetuate something like that?  Michelle Obama is a beautiful lady who doesn’t deserve vicious and stupid gossip perpetuated about her!  Unfortunately, gossip crosses all borders and doesn't have a conscience.

The other memes and posts I hate to see are those where people blindly post garbage about "the government" did such and such, and they did it on purpose to hurt us/kill us/dumb us down/keep us from getting jobs, etc. Unless we are sitting in on sessions of Congress, or we were at the table where a law was passed that said “the government is going to start systematically killing its citizens” (or some other derogatory thing concocted by some carnal mind prone to forcing fantasy to become reality), then we need to be VERY careful about passing this info on!  We MUST learn to separate truth from fantasy; and we can do this by verifying facts and making sure the info came from a RELIABLE source that has PROOF.  If we cannot do that, then we need to ignore the "juicy tidbit."  It’s NOT “proof” when one simply espouses, "The government did blah, blah, blah….”   If that source doesn’t provide the actual website, video, article, newspaper clipping with date and source, etc., then IGNORE it.

There’s a small example in Scripture about the seriousness of gossip.  It’s the story about how  Noah cursed his grandson because of what Ham, his own son had done to him (see Genesis 9:20-27 in Parasha 2).

You see, Noah had become inebriated and lay naked in his tent where he was discovered by his youngest son, Ham (the father of Kena'an). Rather than to simply cover his father's nakedness, Ham apparently "made a big deal of it" and told his brothers, Shem and Yefet, who then promptly covered their father. When Noah awoke and found out what Ham had done to him, he cursed Ham's son, Kena'an.  (Why did he curse his grandson rather than his son? Well, it seems in part because, since Ham hurt Noah, Noah wanted to cause Ham similar pain....After all, curses are generational  - see Exodus 34:7; Lamentations 5:7.)

We're NOT told exactly how things transpired, but Ham probably went outside laughing and joking and generally making fun of his father, thus breaking the Fifth Commandment. (We can only surmise that Ham felt he had a "juicy tidbit" to share with his brothers, which built up his carnal nature and made him "feel good" about himself. In Biblical times people weren't as "loose" as in our decadent society where nakedness is "cool" and "in" and something to be flaunted. Back then (as it actually SHOULD be now) it was disgusting and shameful for anyone but a spouse to see you naked. God tells us to honor our mother and father - and Ham was definitely guilty of disrespecting his father on that particular day….)

As you can see, gossip/lashon hara is VERY dangerous as it not only hurts the person being degraded, but it also can reflect the tale bearer’s less-than-stellar character and cause him/her to lose their own reputation.  Not to mention, YHWH considers it to be a grave sin.  Please take a look at all these scriptures about gossip

2 comments:

  1. Could the Lie of Evolution be classified as gossip? Many people adhere to and swallow that Lie like laced punch.

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  2. No. Evolution is assumed "fact", so it does not descend to the level of "gossip". But don't be so quick to call evolution a "lie". Parts of evolution are valid, after all, evolution only describes a theory. But to leap to the conclusion that "evolution" provides the whole story of how we got here and how animals are the way they are (the central theme of evolution), requires many leaps of science and logic. We have to remember, science only "describes" what is and manipulate what is, using human methods of evaluation, it does not "create".

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