Develop Your Potential
Lashon Hara (LH)is using words that are harmful to others. They are words that put another person in a negative light when spoken about them. Or words spoken against someone that humiliate or shame him.
LH is one of the branches on the prohibition of murder and inflicting harm. From the Chafetz Chaim we learn: “One who murders only kills one person, but one who speaks LH kills three people: the Speaker, the Listener and the Victem who is the subject of the LH.
This lesson is learned in Tanach from Doeg who spoke LH to Shaul the King about Achimelech. All tree were killed: Shaul because he accepted the LH (II Shamuel 31:6) , Achimelech because he was victimized ( Shamuel 22;16) and Doeg who spoke murderously against Achimelech (Tehillim 32:7).
The opposite of LH is Lashon Hatov.
They are words that give life to the one who uses them, the one who receives them and the one who hears them becasue good speech can lift us up to great heights.
Parents and teachers in particular have the ability to lift others up.They – and other people – should use positive words about the behaviour of people, creating an environment in which people dare to grow and in which they dare to try out and improve actions and behaviour. Praise gives people the confidence to let go of the negative aspects of their character and reach their full potential.
By Angelique Sijbolts
Sources: Sefaria, Shemirat HaLashon Book 1 Chapter 4 – Chafetz Chayim, Chabad Article: How to Praise
Recommended book: Carol Dweck, Mindset, Ballantine Books, 2007.
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