Communication. We all communicate in one way or another, some better than others. There are rules to communication, spoken and unspoken. I heard a teaching the other day on the sins of communication; the speaker identified seven. They are as follows; Gossip, Judgment, Negativity, Complaining, Excuses, Lying, and Dogmatism. They all affect communication whether speaking with another person or on the world stage. The Bible addresses them, too.
Fun fact; the word ‘gossip’ has two meanings. One has transitioned into a word more familiar to most today; ‘godsibb’, meaning a person who is spiritually related. We recognize a ‘godsibb’ as a ‘godparent’. The more common meaning is someone who spreads rumors about others. Proverbs 11:13 says “A gossip goes around revealing secrets, but a trustworthy person keeps a confidence.” and Leviticus 19:16 says it this way, “Do not go around spreading slander among your people, but also don’t stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is at stake.” (The Complete Jewish Bible) Both shine a negative light on gossiping. Proverbs says gossips are not people of integrity; Leviticus warns us not to be silent when others are spreading slander.
Judging. Now that is a topic, am I right? Church-going folks have heard, “Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged. For the way you judge others is how you will be judged — the measure with which you measure out will be used to measure to you.” Kind of a spiritual tit-for-tat, cosmic Karma, and just good common sense. Aside from Biblical teachings, judging reveals personal pride and hypocrisy. Why do we believe ourselves righteous enough to judge others? Yeshua (Jesus) goes on to say take the log out of your eye before judging the splinter in another’s. We overlook the flaws and faults in our own lives but feel free to stand in judgment of others.
The next three are closely related. Negativity, complaining and excuses. We all know negative people who complain the world is against them and make excuses for themselves and their lives rather than take responsibility to bring about change. They are energy vampires, sucking the life energy out of everyone in their orbit. People who excel in these three are exhausting to be around, at best. We create our own destinies through our thoughts and words. The choice is ours; negativity begets negativity, and the reverse is equally true. “I don’t have, I can’t, if I had” are the mantras of the world’s negative-Nancy’s.
Lying. What can we say about lying? Just don’t. Easy-peasy.
And finally, dogmatism. The bane of free-thinking. In the face of evidence to the contrary, the dogmatic stand firm in their opinion they are right and everyone else is wrong. I see this most clearly within organized religion. Every religion believes their tenets and doctrines are absolute God-breathed truth. The reality is if everyone is right, no one is right.
All of the above “sins of communication” share a common thread; arrogance. On the surface, it may not appear so but look deeper. If any believes they can share confidentialities without permission, believe it acceptable to freely judge the splinters of others while a log blurs their vision, complain without effort to change, lie, and choose to stand their ground in spite of evidence to the contrary, arrogance is at the root of all. The Bible teaches and warns against all.
Communication matters. How we communicate says a lot about who we are as people. The upside is we are not confined by any of the ‘sins’…..