Develop yourself to the best of your ability
It is clear that when you speak badly about another person it is to their disadvantage. When others believe it, they will look at the person differently and may even treat them differently.
It is also to the detriment of the person listening to it. He hears a wrong example which will make it easier for him to speak evil too. But it will probably also make him think negatively about the victim himself with all its consequences.
And it is bad for yourself more than we realise at first. How you will experience the world to come depends partly on how you live now. Many mitzvot a person can do are physical. Giving charity, returning lost items, etc. One of the 7 Noahides Laws positively stated is “know G-d”. One of the ways to know Him is by studying Torah. (See also the blog: “Can a Noahide Study Jewish Torah?) This is purely spiritual and the Chafetz Chayim teaches that this is why it has the greatest impact and is the greatest mitzvah. Bear in mind that by studying Torah you also learn how best to perform the mitzvot.
The opposite is true of Lashon Hara. Stealing, killing, etc. are all physical acts, unlike Lashon Hara. It is also spiritual and so it also has the greatest detrimental effect on how you will experience the world to come. With that, thank that spoken words are very powerful and will often lead to certain actions and deeds.
Both Lashon Hara and Torah study work like a domino effect. Therefore, let us (learn to) refrain from the former above all and practise the latter as much as we can.
One way to fight Lashon Hara is to realise that it often arises because we judge others negatively. Pirkei Avot teaches: “Judge every person favourably”.
This means that we always try to come up with a reason why someone acts the way they do and do so with their best ability and understanding.
By Angelique Sijbolts
Sources: Pirkei Avot, Everyday Holiness by Alan Morinis
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