Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sticks and Stones

"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


Patrizia said...

Oh my! I was just thinking of how very false that statment is, "sticks & stones......" Funny, you are posting about this today. I cant believe it! I thought to myself, who came up with this? Its a lie!

You have blessed me today with the scriptures you used & for speaking truth! thank you :)

Rejoicing In Him, Patrizia

TMichelle said...

I wonder whatever happened to Earl and if he regrets his treatment of you.

Nabila Grace said...

So true my dear so true...I used to be badly bullied when I was younger and the words are what I remember...

Mary R. said...

Amen, I needed that today.

Faithful Mama said...

This is a great post! You know, when I got married(and wasn't saved...and grew up in a *lost* home) I was so harsh and spoke such ugly words to my husband when I would get angry. It was, after all, what I had always seen done in my home(I'm not making excuses, but at the time I was still a *kid* and its true). I will never forget the day that I stopped all that. My husband said to me, "Honey, how can you just say those things and not mean them?" I can remember telling him that they were just words, and that my actions should show that I don't mean it....or some silly thing like that. Oh, how I would love to take back some of those early days in our marriage when I was so stupid and hurtful. Praise the Lord for forgiveness!!!! I now teach my children that words are more hurtful than physical pain as you can never erase the memory of that kind of abuse. I am so happy to know that they will never have the same sort of troubles that I struggled with as a newlywed. The tongue is so powerful and so hurtful. I am so happy you posted this! Love it! I too, like one of your other commenters, wonder if Earl has changed or how he would feel about hurting you now. Thanks for sharing! Great blog! :)--S