Is Speaking Evil Tied to Health?

Is Speaking Evil Tied to Health?

© GLOW IMAGES Model used for illustrative purposes

A guest post written by Kathleen Osborne from Riverside, California

The other day a headline in the Wall Street Journal caught my attention. In super-large type it read “Speak No Evil.” The article itself was about how to give a speech, but it got me thinking about the adage, “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” and how this might relate to health and harmony.

As plenty of evidence suggests, negative (i.e. evil) thoughts cause undue stress, often resulting in illness. Positive (or we could say spiritualized) thoughts can contribute to good health. I am a firm believer in this power of good. The Bible supports the idea that well-being is a mental condition, which Jesus understood when he healed “those oppressed of the devil.”

The word evil is not used lightly, and I wanted to get a clearer picture of it. I got out the dictionary. Many of the definitions of evil are what you might expect: immoral, depraved, corrupt, unwholesome, vicious, etc. But, unexpectedly, there were also more definitions at the end that surprised me: marked by anger, irritability, irascibility – and even more surprising – accompanied by misfortune or suffering, sorrowful. Knowing that being angry, irritated, or sad was evil, as clearly stated in Webster’s, had a big effect on me. Irritation seemed to be part of my daily experience and I realized that I was “speaking evil” without even knowing it.

This realization has given me tremendous motivation to watch my thinking more closely and will promote better physical health through healthy thinking.

About the author

Guest We are pleased to present Notes from the Field authors, who are assistant committees and church members in the Southern California region; and Notes from The Mother Church authors, who are Committees from the United States and around the world, as well as the Federal Committee on Publication office.


  1. Diana U says

    Thanks for this article. Many movies show it to be OK to speak and do evil and more needs to be said about watching our thoughts!

  2. Pamela says

    Thanks Kathleen for this reminder that any negativity in our life is really a form of evil. We all need to be more careful with our thinking and not get irritated or upset over things, especially little things, and that is usually where it starts – over something little. We usually catch the big things but the little ones can be very subtle. Thanks Don for posting this.

  3. Mary Lou MacKenzie says

    All good thoughts to keep in mind. Thanks for the ideas. Irascibility is such a good word to describe evil.

  4. Molly Byers says

    Thanks, Kathleen, for your insights. I’ve been learning the value of constantly watching
    what thoughts are wafting through consciousness. Your comments are right on point.
    Sometimes those tricky elements of evil, can appear as a flash in thought, coming as an
    impulse. Sometimes they may catch us off guard. Impulse is defined as “force communicating instantly”. Also “supposed
    supernatural influence on the mind.” An “impression”. Being armed with Truth and a deep
    Love of God we’re ready to meet them full bore when tempted or surprised with evil’s falsehoods. God is on the march and we’re right along with Him.

  5. Anne Hughes says

    Thank you, Kathleen. Those definitions of evil are an eye-opener, especially irritability, anger, accompanied by suffering. To me it points to the wisdom of uncovering evil thoughts and booting them out, rather than finding an excuse to justify continuing to accept them. Mary Baker Eddy speaks of being willing to become as a little child and leave the old for the new in her book Science and Health, and God’s love for us shows us how to do that. Great post!

  6. Sharon says

    Thank you, Kathy, for these wonderful insights. I will keep these ideas in mind when I find myself reacting adversely to situations, and work to replace any evil thoughts with God-like thoughts.