Put the Brakes on Loshon Hora // Positively Speaking // Mark Wilson

Chaim Feld, a Rabbi, from Cleveland, decided he had heard enough negative talk. It seemed as if everywhere he went, people were criticizing, complaining, and condemning. He decided to do something about it — and founded an organization dedicated to the eradication of Loshon Hora. Loshon Hora is a Hebrew phrase which means “negative speech.” It includes gossip, backbiting, put-downs, and the like.

He has invented a bumper sticker which is selling like hotcakes –“Put the Brakes on Loshon Hora!”

I wish him well in his efforts. We would all be better off without so much “Loshon Hora” dragging us down.

John Wesley, the 18th Century founder of the Methodist movement in England, was also fed up with Loshon Hora. Although he didn’t use the phrase — he made every effort to eliminate patterns of negative speech from his life.

Concerned about the misuse of good time for bad talk, he and eleven other ministers entered into the following covenant together:

“It is agreed by those whose names are underwritten-
1) That we will not listen, or willingly inquire after any ill concerning each other.
2) That if we do hear any ill of each other, we will not be forward to believe it.
3) That, as soon as possible, we will communicate what we hear by speaking or writing to the person concerned.
4) That, until we have done this, we will not write or speak a syllable of it to any other person whatsoever.
5) That neither will we mention it after we have done this to any other person.
6) That we will not make any exception to any of these rules, unless we think ourselves absolutely obliged in conscience to do so.”

Wouldn’t it be great if we would all treat our friends in this same manner?

Lot’s of things are opened by mistake — but none as often as the mouth! Think before you speak — and “Put the Brakes on Loshon Hora!”

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