Lashon hara and the talebearers

Christians and conservatives get riled up pretty easy over the deliberate weaponization of the news, the falsehoods, half-truths, lies, insinuations, agenda pushing and just plain political intolerance and ideological bigotry by the news media and the liberals. We are living in a nation where the meanest, most outrageous, and inaccurate things can be said about people and there is little to no accountability. Willful ignorance amongst the population then spreads this terrible misinformation throughout the internet, and the stories get bigger and lore grows greater and soon the lie becomes the fact as it is repeated. But it is not only the liberal media, Democrats and leftist Hollywood elites who are guilty of this.

This week’s Torah reading—that’s the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament—is in Leviticus. It discusses a leprosy-like condition called tzara’at. Further study reveals that those who spoke evil of another would break out in tzara’at. They had to go to the priest for repentance and healing. Called lashon harah, meaning “evil tongue,” speaking evil of someone, slandering them, libeling them, passing gossip, were all forbidden by the Lord God. Moses, when he told God that the people wouldn’t believe that God had sent him, turned white with tzara’at for speaking evil about God’s people.  Miriam was also stricken with tzara’at when she spoke evil against Moses. This is very serious.

The Bible says in Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” James compared the tongue among the members that defile the whole body and in James 3:2 said, “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” Jesus said in Matthew 12:36-37, “But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.” It is from this perspective that we as Christians should view the current visceral national rhetoric. Words mean things and mean words have legs that, as James said, set the course of nature on fire—a fire of hell.

Gossip is also a sin. There are a number of verses that discuss the talebearer. Proverbs 18:8 says “The words of a talebearer are as wounds.” Leviticus 19:16 says, “Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people.” So here is the point of today’s Daily Jot: Christians and conservatives should not partake in spreading gossip, false reports and fake news, similarly to the very criticism we lay on the news media, politicians or actors. When anonymous sources, whose track records on facts and the truth are unreliable, and in fact abysmal, are used just because they support a conservative narrative or belief, they are no better than the lies of the left and ungodly. Verify your sources. Don’t participate in lashon hara.

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Bill Wilson

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