The "sins of the tongue"

People of simple heart are amazed at the miracles and the preaching of the Lord. Others, before the most prodigious facts, do not want to believe in the divinity of Jesus. The Lord has just cast out a demon," St. Mark tells us in the Gospel of the Mass,1 and while the people were amazed, the scribes who had come down from Jerusalem said, "He has Beelzebul, and by virtue of the prince of demons he casts out demons. For lack of good dispositions the works of the Lord are interpreted as works of the devil. Everything can be confused if there is a lack of rectitude in the conscience! At the height of their obsession, they go so far as to say of Jesus that he had an unclean spirit. He who was holiness itself!

For love of God and neighbor, for love of justice, the Christian must also be just in what he says, in a world in which so much is mistreated with words. "To man is due the good name, the respect, the consideration, the fame that he has deserved. The more we get to know man, the more his personality, his character, his intelligence and his heart are revealed to us. And the more we realize (...) the criterion by which we must "measure" him, and what it means to be just with him " 

Often, a poor command of the tongue, "the lightness in acting and speaking", are manifestations of "carelessness and frivolity " , of a lack of interior content and of the presence of God. And how many injustices can be committed by making irresponsible judgments about the behavior of those who live with us, work with us or relate to us! The Apostle James wrote that the tongue can become a world of iniquity.

Every person has the right to keep his good name, as long as he has not demonstrated with unworthy, public and notorious facts, that it does not correspond to him. Slander, slander, murmuring... constitute great faults of justice towards one's neighbor, for a good name is preferable to great riches7, since, with its loss, man is incapacitated to accomplish a good part of the good that he could have accomplished8. The most frequent origin of defamation, of negative criticism, of murmuring, is envy, which does not suffer the good qualities of others, the prestige or the success of a person or of an institution.

Those who cooperate in its propagation by word of mouth, through the press or any means of communication, echoing and giving publicity to slanderous facts or sayings commented in the ear; or by silence, for example when the defense of the person reviled is omitted, since silence -many times- is equivalent to an approval of what is heard; one can also defame by "praising", if the good done is unjustly lowered. On other occasions, to comment on unfounded rumors is a true injustice against the good reputation of one's neighbor. When the defamation is made through magazines, newspapers, radio, television, etc., it increases the diffusion and, therefore, the seriousness. And not only individuals have the right to their honor and reputation, but also institutions. Defamation of institutions is just as serious as defamation of individuals, and sometimes it is even more serious because of the consequences that can result from the public discrediting of discredited institutions

We can ask ourselves today in our prayer if in the environments in which our life develops (family, work, friends...) we are known for being people who never speak ill of our neighbor, if we really live in every occasion that wise advice: "when you cannot praise, be silent "

Hablar con Dios