Once upon a time, an old man was having some issues with his younger neighbor. So the old man began to spread rumors that his neighbor was a thief. As a result, the young man was arrested. After a lengthy trial process, the young man was proven innocent.
But because of all that had been said, from the initial accusation and throughout the trial, the young man lost his job and nobody would hire him. So the young man sued the old man for wrongly accusing him.
In the course of these proceedings, the old man told the judge: “They were just words, comments, didn’t harm anyone.”
On the day the judge was to announce the verdict, he gave some unusual instructions to the old man. “I want you to write down all the things you said about the young man on this pad of paper.” The judge then ordered a recess until the old man was finished.
When court reconvened, the judge told the old man to then cut up the pieces of paper, being careful not to let any of them fall onto the floor of his courtroom.
When this was done, the judge told the old man to come back tomorrow and he would give his verdict. Before he adjourned for the day, the judge told the old man that on his way home, he was to throw the pieces of paper out the window of his car.
On the next day, when court was in session the judge told the old man: “I find you guilty of all charges.
“Before I pass down your sentence, I need you to go out and gather all the pieces of paper that you threw out your car window yesterday.”
The old man said, “I can’t do that! The wind spread them and I won’t know where to find them.”
The judge then replied, “In the same way simple comments may destroy the honor of a man to such an extent that one is not able to fix it. If you can’t speak well of someone, rather don’t say anything. Let’s all be masters of our mouths, so that we won’t be slaves of our words.” He then awarded the full damages the young man was seeking.
A brief application...
Gossips are worse than thieves because they steal another person’s dignity, honor, reputation and credibility which are impossible to restore. So remember this: when your feet slip, you can always recover your balance; but when your tongue slips, you can never recover your words.