Saturday, November 15, 2008


Sticks and stones may break my bones ...but WORDS will never hurt me!"

I can remember using this little "saying" more than once during childhood as a comeback when someone said something to me that hurt my feelings or embarrassed me.

I was sent to school in homemade dresses that looked different from all the other girls'. I was taller than everyone else in my class... even the boys... so I was "the giant". I wore glasses from the time I was eight years old so I was "four-eyes". I looked "older" than most girls my age so that made me different as well.

Just living a life that makes one feel "different" is hard enough. The insensitivity of someone actually voicing their opinion that you are different can make a wound that lasts for a lifetime... even though the speaker may never know he has said or done anything wrong.

Thoughtless. Insensitive. People voicing things that should have not been voiced. Feelings trampled under foot. And if you mentioned to the speaker that they had hurt someone's feelings with their carelessly chosen words, they would likely be without a clue.

Words once spoken can never be erased. Whether they were heated words spoken in anger... or careless, criticizing words that cut to the heart of a child... pointing out the differences... or making them feel stupid, those words can never be taken back.

Even if they are followed by an apology, the wound is still there... a "sore" in the memory which will require much praise and positive affirmation to overcome... and may never be completely overcome.

The Bible speaks a lot about the words of our mouth and their power in our lives:

"The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. (James 3:6)

"He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity." (Proverbs 21:23)

"He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin."

(Proverbs 13:3)

"When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise."

(Proverbs 10:19)

"The power of life and death are in the tongue."

"Even a fool is thought to be wise if he keeps his mouth closed!"

The word says that as a child of God we have to think before we speak. As believers, we are called to be "imitators of Christ". We are to hold ourselves to a higher standard than the world demands in the way we act and the things we say.

Unless we can uplift someone... unless we can praise someone... if we can find nothing positive to say... most words are best left unspoken.

Lord, forgive us for the words we have spoken in haste or in anger that have hurt others... whether they were an accident or spoken on purpose.

Help us as believers to be mindful of the effect our words can have on the lives of others, and help us to choose what we say with care.


samantha said...

So true! Words carry the power of life and death.. the power to lift up or put down. We all need to be more careful of what we say.

Barbara said...

Ed often says "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." If we all subscribed to that, the world would be a silent place. We all need to work on it! Thanks for the reminder to curb our tongues.

Nancy said...

Thankyou for this.

Named Alicia said...

Amen! Great thoughts! I shudder at the times I have spoken without thinking. Thanks for the reminder to hold my tongue. It is definitely something I struggle with!

Have a great Sunday!

Special K said...

Great post!

Tag your it!