“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
When I was three years old, I fell off the top bunk of the bed I shared with my sister and broke my collar bone. A few years ago I fractured one of my fingers in two places. In both of these examples the initial injury caused significant pain and discomfort, but within a short period of time the bones healed and today they no longer cause me any pain.
“I’m rubber you’re glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.”
Words are different. The hurt that is caused from words has a way of lingering. Most of us can think of something said to us years ago that still causes a slight twinge when we think about it. The pain that words cause can last a lifetime if we let it. We’ve all heard the childhood rhymes invented to try to shield us from the truth that words do hurt. We try to convince ourselves (and our ridiculers) that name-calling, taunts and negative words don’t affect us, but they do. The Bible says that “death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). Our words have power. They have the power to pierce like a sword or to bring healing (Proverbs 12:18). For this reason we need to be careful about the things we say to one another. Our words should be centered in love.
“If someone were to pay you 10 cents for every kind word you ever spoke and collect from you 5 cents for every unkind word, would you be rich or poor?” -Unknown Source
The Bible says, “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:37) and “The lips of the righteous feed many” (Proverbs 10:21). I want the words that come out of my mouth to be words that feed others, not words that are destructive or hurtful. As Christians, we should be known by our love (John 13:35). Let’s strive to use words in a healing way. Every time we speak we have the opportunity to build people up or to tear them down. The choice is ours. That doesn’t mean that we have to pretend things are all sunshine and rainbows all the time or that we have to stretch the truth in order to say nice things. No, we are called to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Even when we have to say difficult things we can do it in a compassionate, life-affirming way. Our words can show care, concern, and kindness in a world that so desperately needs to see the love of God in action. Let’s commit to speaking more words of comfort and to endeavor to eliminate destructive language from our vocabulary.
Help me to use my words in a way that honors You. I want the words that I speak to be pleasing to You. Help me to yield to You in such a way that my words are Your words to a hurting, broken world. Thank You, Lord for being so good to me. I love you.
For examples of how words can hurt us and some godly things you can do if you’ve been wounded by the words of others, check out these posts by the other Rebekahs:
Being in ministry I see the damage words do to people. The lies hinder one from drawing closer to the Lord, then the emotions follow the lies, then the bad habits follow the emotions. Through the power of the Holy Spirit and revealing the truth of the Lord, this powerful effect is broken and people are set free and are able to draw closer to the Lord.
We must, as you say, use our words to build up and encourage.
Great post, blessings to you!
Great post. I think we tend to underestimate the power of our words – and His word. May we aim to speak life into people’s lives, using his Word and Holy Spirit as our guide, and be a blessing, not a hindrance.
Thanks for your wise thoughts.
Exactly. We don’t realize how powerful the spoken word is. God spoke the world into existence, likewise we speak things into our lives and the lives of others. I pray that I become more mindful of my own words so that through Jesus, I’m speaking blessings and victory into the lives of others and not speaking the darkness and lies of the enemy.
Wonderful reminder of the power of the tongue. We need to remember that our hurtful words do not only cause pain to the person we say it to – our children learn our language and speak those same words to their friends too. The pain spreads wider than we intend it to. Let’s be mindful about the words we use.
Excellent point! Not only do our words affect us and the person they are meant for, they also affect anyone who hears them or hears of them. Your comment reminds me of something my pastor often says. He says that sin will take you further than you ever intended to go. Our words are like that too. Once said, they can’t be taken back and often have a bigger impact than we intended.
If faith comes by hearing so does doubt, fear, hurt, despair…
The words we speak are evidence of the state of our heart; it is by the words we speak out of our mouths that we will be judged. Out of the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks. (Matthew 12:34, Luke 6:45)
That’s so true. The things we hear enter our thoughts which eventually can make their way to our hearts. I actually had Luke 6:45 quoted in my original post, but I ended up taking it out because it had so many Scriptures crammed into such a short little paragraph. lol.
LOL there’s nothing like the Word to confirm truths that’s for sure. I’ve done the same thing! 😀
Great Post. I thoroughly enjoyed it and agree with it. ~ Prince
Thanks for reading. God is good!
Thanks for the great post. Bullying is such a real issue we’re facing in our world today! I just did a series of posts on this on my blog, including one dealing with the same one you brought up today – the power of words. Check it out: http://pastorchrisjordan.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/sticks-and-stones/.
Thanks for sharing!
love it thanks
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