Speak no evil

Thursday Week 2 Lent 
Jeremiah 7:23-28
Luke 11:14-23

The WORD in Other Words by Fr Deva Savariyappan SVD (Philippines)

In Jewish law, the gravest of the sins of tale-bearing is lashon ha-ra (literally,“the evil tongue”), which involves discrediting a person or saying negative thingsabout a person, even if those negative things are true. It is forbidden to even imply or suggest negative things about a person, even in jest. One who tells disparaging things that are false is referred to as a motzisheimra, that is, one who spreads a bad report. This is considered the lowest of the low. (Taken from Issues in Jewish Ethics:Speech and Lashon HaRah)

In the gospel, our Lord Jesus Christ is shown to have driven out a demon that made the crowd amazed. The opponents of Jesus, however, were filled with extreme jealousy. So they were discrediting Jesus and spoke negative things against him, though they very well knew that telling disparaging things wasconsidered the lowest of the low. According to Jesus, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house.” In this season of Lent, it would be worthwhile to examine ourselves:

• Are we a people who are bent on finding ways to criticize others and find some faults in their words and actions, and thus cause them hurt and pain?

• Are we in the habit of not appreciating the beauty and goodness of others?

• Are we generous enough to recognize the positive things in others and appreciate their talents and abilities?

Let us pay heed to St. James (4:11): “Do not speak evil against one another,brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doerof the law but a judge.”

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