I would think everyone living has heard the saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” That’s how we were taught to respond to someone saying hurtful things to us as children. I’m not sure who coined the phrase, I do not believe it. The truth is, sticks and stones will break bones, and words can do irreparable damage…life altering damage.
I have both played the victim and the inflictor of painful verbage. It has always been okay for me to inflict others with hurtful words, but they are wrong to hurt me by the way they talk. The measure of the wound can be according to the extent you and I believe the statement intented to harm us. A really healthy self image may not be affected by words from anyone. That is a great reason to take a look at how you see yourself.
“There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health.” Prov.12:18 “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.” Prov.15:1-2 (NKJV)
I think we have used the little “sticks and stones” saying to ensure our little ones aren’t harmed by the sharp barbs from others, but what about how you speak to your kids? Words from parents are as damaging as words from anyone, and often, more so. Don’t walk in the door and proceed to scream over things that are of little importance. The house may be cluttered, the grass may need mowed, but let me ask you, is that worth possibly injuring mentally your child forever? You do know that your behavior is mimicked by your children. What? You want to make sure your grandchildren’s lives are messed up too? Keep working at it, you are sure to succeed.
I’m sure no one wants to be bullied. The bully does not want to be bullied, of that I’m sure. Words bully and intimidate others. Do not think for even a second that your child is not a bully. Hopefully they are not. If your children bully others, there is a chance they are being bullied…by you perhaps, and you may not even realize you are doing so.
You may not know if your child is a victim of bullying because of your communication gap, especially teenagers. This is heart breaking. They are afraid, and guess what? Their greatest fear may be their fear of disappointing you. With you making a decision to open communication lines with your kids, you may find out about some darkness they are living with. Don’t let your child deal with this alone. Be there, it is hard, but be there.
There are words that heal. If we are wise, we tell our children these words over and over and over again. Then we repeat it…until they believe it to be so, because it is. These ancient words are God’s Words directly to whoever will listen and do them.
“My son, (daughter), give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the middle of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it springs the issues of life. Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you; let your eyes look straight ahead.” Prov. 4:20-25 (NKJV)
I am very sorry about some of the words I have used on others in life. I feel that since I have entered recovery from alcoholism, that my objective to grow up and really be someone that cares and is concerned for people, has been key for me in watching things I say and how I say them to others. I feel that many hurtful words directed towards another was mainly to get a rise out of them. More joking, than sincerity with intent to harm. I try to be careful even when I kid with folks these days. I have no desire to make anyone feel hurt.
I must realize that I have to be watchful in my kidding around, not everyone has a good sense of humor. In truth, I have been offended from words that were nothing other than someone joking around with me. I can look at the little childhood saying today, and know nothing said to me for harm can touch me, if I remain spiritually fit. When I see myself in the light of God’s Word, sticks and stones bounce off of me as though I have a force field…and I do. In Christ, I am part of God’s family, royalty, a new creation.
Words can hurt, words can heal. Today I choose to speak words that bring health, and not allow words intended to hurt me to have an effect. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith