Friday, July 06, 2007

Accentuate the Negative?

In response to a recent post, one reader made the following comment:

Lvnsm27 said... lashon hara is more interesting to people. But we need to think of the consequences. People just think of the popularity they'll have. They don't realize the punishment for this aveirah...

She's right, of course, but it did make me think about the emphasis she, and many others put on things. Why do we always tend to think about things in terms of "the punishment for this aveirah?" Why do we feel like we have to say, "I'm a bad boy, but please don't punish me, Abba?"

Wouldn't it be better to look at it from a more global perspective? Speaking Loshon HaRah is a bad thing to do for so many reasons; on so many levels. It's bad personally. It's bad communally. It's bad for business. It's just... bad. It gives us an excuse not to improve ourselves because, in our minds, we're better than the competition. But that still doesn't make us better. It doesn't really help us.

There are so many better reasons, in my mind, for us to avoid speaking Lashon HaRah, or committing other aveirot for that matter. Yet we usually wind up speaking in terms of punishment. Our teachers teach it to us in terms of punishment.

It's weird to me.

But then, maybe that's just my not liking the idea of being a little boy again...

7 comments:

Lvnsm27 said...

True there are better reasons for staying away from LH like we should consider how the person might feel, or think twice before ruining their reputation. And I was thinking about writing that. But people still do it because either they don't care, or they don't realize the damage that it could cause.
But if they are a made aware of the punishment, then it becomes personal and makes them think twice.
But I agree that people should avoid it for better reasons and think of the other's feelings.

Ezzie said...

What Lvnsm said, but also a bit more: I think it's because that's how it's presented to us from the time we're growing up - from parents, teachers especially, etc.

I'd be curious if later-in-life BT's approach it more positively.

Lvnsm27 said...

gut voch, I've read both positive and negative reasons. The positive ones were like, avoiding it helps keeps your relationships strong, and shemiras hasloshon brings blessings.

Sorah said...

Actually, I do think of avoiding lashon horah as a kind of way to keep shalom bayis in a community, and not so much as "don't do this or else you'll be punished". Maybe that's because of the different ways it's taught. For little FFB kids (and most other young kids), the only way to be sure that they won't do something is to guarantee some type of punishment. For adults, that approach usually doesn't work so well.

Lvnsm27 said...

yea but some need the awareness of consequences to hold them back. While others just need the nice reasons to keep them strong

The Half-Heretic said...

So basically what you're saying is that, for many of us, our understanding of things hasn't really changed much since we were kids.

That's actually often true.

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