Speak No Evil, Hear No Evil

In the ancient Christian training manual for discipleship, the Shepherd instructs Hermas, “First, do not speak evil of anyone.”

A scan of social media drives home the point that perhaps there are many Christians (and everyone else) who need to also begin with this teaching. And bring this teaching into our minds and print it on our hearts.

Do. Not. Speak. Evil. Of. Anyone.

But much in the pattern of Jesus, who never stopped at the obvious, the Shepherd further instructs his pupil Hermas, “And to not enjoy listening to someone who does.”


Perhaps reading through social media feeds we encourage others with our “likes” and “hearts”.

In so doing, we also participate in the spreading of evil words.

Sounds like Jesus. He doesn’t let anyone off the hook. Both the speaker and the hearer are equally culpable.

Confession. The other day, I sinned. I open Facebook once a day (most days) to check notifications and wish people I know a happy birthday or offer condolences when bad times strike. Even though about 80% (or 99%) of my “friends” are fervid Trump supporters and one is a liberal, I managed to fail to contain myself and commented on one of each.

After the second comment, I logged out and didn’t return for two days. “Don’t participate” became my mantra for the week.

Maybe you, too.

Do not speak evil of others, and do not enjoy listening to those who do.

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