"Sticks and stones may break my bones,
but words will never hurt me."
Whomever originated this phrase never read Proverbs 18:21, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue..." If they had, maybe they would have thought twice before saying it. Words hurt!
I remember my 3rd grade bully named Earl. Earl wasn't popular. He was just your average boy running around the school yard with a foreign object in his nose that always moved back and forth with each breath he took. Earl wasn't tall and didn't appear to be strong. I shouldn't have been afraid of him, but yet, I was. Why? Because of the things he would say to me.
Finally one day there was a showdown between Earl and myself. This day I noticed Earl coming toward me with more than the usual two boys that always accompanied him. He had a crowd. I had a choice to make and I needed to make it quick.
What's the worse thing that could happen? After all, he had already spoken such harsh words that a right hook to my jaw wouldn't hurt as bad. I knew that eventually whatever physical pain Earl will inflict on me would heal, but the words he had spoken to me wouldn't heal as quickly.
Earl gave me the best options that day. Instead of saying hurtful things in front of a larger crowd of people, he just came up to me and pushed me. I remember the sense of relief not hearing the sting of his words.
I quickly jumped to my feet and started swinging. I felt so free as I swung my arms like a wild child. I'm not sure who won that fight, but I do know that Earl's hurtful words ceased after that.
Hurtful words are like bees. They sting and leave their poison to spread to the core of the person. Sometimes, there's an allergic reaction to the bee sting and can result in the demise of it's victim. Same with hurtful words according to Proverbs 18:21.
As a wife, a mother and a Christian, I'm accountable for the words that flow from my mouth. The words I speak go out into eternity. I can seek forgiveness and forgiveness will be granted, but I can't take back my words. We all say things that we wish we can take back. When our tongue cause hurt to others, we need to humble ourselves before God and our victims.
James 3:8 says, "But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." If the Word of God tells us that we can't tame our tongue, it behooves us to think before we speak.
Let us not allow the bully have power over us with the hurtful words they speak. Don't be provoked by others to respond. We don't have to, the Lord will.
"Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath;
for it is written,
"Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord...
Do not be overcome by evil,
but overcome evil with good."
Romans 12:19 & 21