"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!"
One of those statements is true, the other is a lie. I am guessing that you, like me, grew up hearing both of these phrases. And you know as well as I do which one of those statements is a bold faced lie.
I am a talker. I speak before I think. And I have gotten myself into a world of trouble over the years with the words I use. You would think after 30+ years of talking (my mom swears I came out of the womb talking) I would have learned my lesson but alas, I have not. I still tend to stick my foot (sometimes my whole leg) into my mouth way too often. I hurt people unintentionally. I share things I probably shouldn't (usually about myself- believe it or not I can keep a secret!). And I voice opinions better left unsaid. This is something it appears I will struggle with all my life.
There is a Christian song out right now by Hawk Nelson called "Words", in the chorus he sings...
Words can build you up
Words can break you down
Start a fire in your heart
or put it out.
Truer words were never spoken. There are few things in this world that are as powerful as words. Contrary to the old sticks and stones phrase, words can hurt. They can cut deeply and leave life long scars.
But words can also heal, they can mend, they can inspire, they can renew. Words teach, they guide, they lift up.
The summer is over half done and my kids have spent a lot of time together, perhaps too much time. The words in our house are getting a little snippy, a little sarcastic, and sometimes even mean. So I have been ceaselessly repeating the following scripture to my kids. It's one of my favorites, so I may have shared it with you before...
"Let no unwholesome words come out of your mouth but only what is helpful for lifting others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen."
Words can hurt. Unwholesome words spoken in jest, in anger or in frustration can cut and leave deep wounds. Speak only what is helpful, lift others up, words can also encourage and motivate.
There is so much the Bible has to say about the words we use, Proverbs is FILLED with instruction on the type of words wise men use verses what foolish men say. Too often, I have been foolish, I have been careless with my words and I have spoken unwholesome things. But I am getting better at this. It is my deepest longing to use my words the way the wise men in Proverbs use them. To build people up.
In the words of Hawk Nelson...
Let my words be life
Let my words be true
I don't want to say a word
unless it points the world back to you.