This post addresses a topic that hits close to home for all of us.
Negative speech against others seems to really run deep in human behavior and our culture is certainly not exempt.
Just look at the major news network’s ratings or the popularity of “Fail” videos on YouTube.
People seemingly cannot get enough of this ugly behavior.
And society is more than happy to support anyone who wants to speak negatively or listen to it.
What the Torah says about gossip and spreading rumors
The prohibition against gossip and rumors is found in the following passage:
Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people; neither shalt thou stand idly by the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD.
Here the Hebrew word translated to talebearer is rakhil and could also be translated to mean gossiper or scandal monger.
Many translations translate this to slanderer. However, slander indicates something that is untrue which does not fully capture the meaning of this command.
Rakhil refers to any negative speech which is said against someone behind their back whether it is something that is true or not.
Another passage we find that addresses negative speech against someone is in Numbers:
Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman.
It goes on to tell us that this made Elohim angry to the point that Miriam actually ended up with leprosy over this incident.
In fact, one of the commands found in the Torah is to remember that Elohim did this to Mariam:
Remember what the LORD your God did to Miriam on the way as you came out of Egypt.
Love your neighbor as yourself
The commandment against gossip and spreading rumors falls under the 2nd greatest of Elohim’s commandments in the Torah according to Yeshua:
…But you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.
Is Elohim telling us here to sit around with warm, fuzzy feelings towards our neighbors and tell them we love them every time we see them?
No, that’s man’s definition of love.
Elohim’s definition of love requires actions and deeds. The same type of actions and deeds that we do for ourselves.
So ask yourself this: Would you go around spreading negative rumors about yourself or lend an ear to someone who is?
Of course not.
As harmless as it may seem at the time, this type of evil speech is toxic and damaging.
And so we must refrain from engaging in it at all costs.
Gossiping and spreading rumors is an easy sin to overlook because it’s such a common practice.
And we’ve all been guilty of this at one point or another. Some, of course, more than others.
This is a prime example of the flesh and its sinful nature.
And it’s only through acknowledgment, repentance, and the power of Elohim’s spirit that we can ever hope to conquer these types of sinful urges of the flesh.