“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: