Preventing verbal pollution

IMAGINE you're walking down the street one day and someone comes up to you with a questionnaire about pollution. You say you're against all forms of pollution and do not personally, at least knowingly, cause any form of pollution. Then the pollster says, ``Oh, that means you never gossip, right?'' How would most of us answer that one? How important is a little gossip, and what does it have to do with pollution? Pollution is anything that interferes with the purity of our environment. So gossip is verbal pollution. But considering the pollution problems facing our world today, isn't it rather inconsequential? A verse from the Bible tells us, ``Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.'' 1 What an important rule to use before speaking. We can ask ourselves, ``Will what I'm about to say edify, instruct, or improve spiritually? Will it minister grace to the hearer?'' Purifying thought and speech is far from inconsequential. It's essential to individual spiritual growth and to our contribution to the well-being of all mankind. Taping the mouth shut may be one remedy for stopping verbal pollution. But it still can't heal the fundamental error--a false concept of oneself. Is our true selfhood a dissatisfied mortal, criticized or criticizing? Or are we actually the offspring of God? Though we appear to be limited and often frustrated mortals, our true being expresses the nature of our creator, and is therefore satisfied, complete in every way. Becoming conscious through prayer of our perfection as the beloved child of God leaves no desire or reason to put another down as a self builder-upper. The consciousness of man made in the image of God leaves nothing to be tattled about, because it includes only what God is--good. The desire to stop, if gossip has become habitual, is itself prayer, a turning to God, the one Mind, the only genuine source of our intelligence. We aren't programmed to contribute to verbal pollution. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, gives this gentle, helpful guideline: ``A little more grace, a motive made pure, a few truths tenderly told, a heart softened, a character subdued, a life consecrated, would restore the right action of the mental mechanism, and make manifest the movement of body and soul in accord with God.'' 2 Elsewhere she says, ``Cherish humility, `watch,' and `pray without ceasing,' or you will miss the way of Truth and Love. Humility is no busybody: it has no moments for trafficking in other people's business, no place for envy, no time for idle words, vain amusements, and all the et cetera of the ways and means of personal sense.'' 3 Our planet needs help. Prayer-directed action can and will clean up pollution. Verbal pollution is one form we can prevent daily on an individual basis. What a powerful force for good if we agree to be faithful to the ``whatsoevers'': ``Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.'' 4 No legislation or new laws have to be made to fulfill this demand. Rather, it is fulfilled as we adhere moment by moment, day by day, to God's law of love. 1 Ephesians 4:29. 2 Miscellaneous Writings, p. 354. 3 Ibid., pp. 356-357. 4 Philippians 4:8.

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