October 2006 - Volume 11, Issue 3

The Sins Of The Tongue

By Rev. Mark Connolly

Photo of a statue depicting the head of a dragon with extending tongueAll of us over the course of our lives have heard the expression "the sins of the tongue". You and I know when we have been hurt by the caustic or the uncharitable remarks of another person. What is now developing in our country is that very few seem to have any sorrow when they defame or destroy another's reputation. There are only three rights that the average person has. One is the right to life, the second is the right to property and the third is a right to a good name. When all of us grew up years ago certain people commanded a sense of respect. The local policeman, the local fireman, the local teacher, they were people we looked up to and because we looked up to them and their office, we respected them.

So many people today have lost that sense of respect not only for the dignity of a person's reputation, but for the person themselves. It is amazing today what is taking place in Washington concerning the office of the President. Whether you are a democrat or a republican, all of us knew from the time of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson that the office of the presidency was deserving of our highest respect. Now they identify the man and the office and both are victims of constant disrespect.

Many years ago when we were taught philosophy and theology, we were all taught the value of freedom of speech. We were all taught that freedom of speech does not mean we can yell fire in a crowded theater. Freedom of speech means we can disagree, we can have opposite opinions we can be miles apart in our philosophy, but it doesn't mean we can desecrate and defame the reputation of an office or the person who is in that office.

Whether we like him or not, whether we are democrats or republicans, whether we are liberals or conservatives, we have to keep in mind a certain amount of dignity should always be extended for those who are in the highest offices of our land. For us to think our sins of the tongue do not matter is a big mistake. I often wonder what other people in other lands must think of when we desecrate the names and office of those who are in positions of leadership, the president, the vice president, the senator or the congressman. We are certainly not doing any good by the use of our tongue if we desecrate and defame these offices. The abuses concerning sins of the tongue are becoming so numerous that we are becoming quite blasé about it. We let language, foul language come into our living rooms through some comedian or some show that has a modernistic appeal to those who don't respect the good names of others.

God never put us on this earth to swear and curse and defame the reputation or good name of another. We cannot make all the subtle distinctions to defend ourselves by saying everyone else is doing it, therefore, it cannot be too bad. We grew up with the slogan, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me". We find that slogan is totally inaccurate. Names that defame, names that desecrate the office and the person of another do tremendous damage.

We hope and pray to God that we don't continue to spread that kind of damage by the sins of our tongue.