Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Feathers in the Wind

  "You shall not wrong one another." Leviticus 25:17

There is a 19th century folktale about a man who went about town slandering the town's wise man. One day, he went to the wise man's home and asked for forgiveness. The wise man, realizing that this man had not internalized the gravity of his transgressions, told him that he would forgive him on one condition: that he go home, take a feather pillow from his house, cut it up, and scatter the feathers to the wind. After he had done so, he should then return to the wise man's house.

Though puzzled by this strange request, the man was happy to be let off with so easy a penance. He quickly cut up the pillow, scattered the feathers, and returned to the house.

"Am I now forgiven?" he asked.

"Just one more thing," the wise man said. "Go now and gather up all the feathers."

"But that's impossible. The wind has already scattered them."

"Precisely," he answered. "And though you may truly wish to correct the evil you have done, it is as impossible to repair the damage done by your words as it is to recover the feathers. Your words are out there in the marketplace, spreading hate, even as we speak."

How interesting it is that we, as human beings, so quick to believe the bad that others say about someone; so accepting of the "news" contained in print and television tabloids, and so ready to assume the worst regarding another's actions, actually allow ourselves to believe that the evil "we" spread about someone won't really matter. Incredible that we can't seem to immediately and resolutely accept the fact that the gossip we speak can - and often does - significant damage to that person. 1

"Gossip is like a fired bullet. Once you hear the sound, you can't take it back." 2

1,2 Lori Palatnik and Bob Burg.


I found this today and thought that it was something valuable to ponder.

God Bless,

Daily Grace


kam said...

That is all so true! The tongue is our own worst enemy. At times I find it hard when the gossip is flying at work to not only walk away, which I should do but better yet to defend the person being slandered! That is my goal; to find someting good to say amongst the evil.
I can't recall doing that too many times.
Great post, nice blog page, looking forward to be pleasantly surprized. Peace! k

the booklady said...

I cringe when I think of all the times I have wounded with my tongue. If only we could collect all the unkind words up and take them back...

Thank you for this gentle reminder!

God bless you today and always!

Julia said...

And why is it that gossip falls from the tongue so much easier than sharing a good? Thank you for the reminder to watch ourselves.

Michael said...

There is certainly great truth in what you have written. I know I have been guilty of the things listed here many times. Its a good lesson and a good reminder.
Thanks for sharing.