Posted by: DCox | January 29, 2009

Sticks and Stones

sticks-and-stones-1Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Okay, I know I don’t need to paint this picture for you. We’ve all been hurt by the words of others. And we have hurt others with our words. That’s reality.

Words … so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become, in the hands of one who knows how to combine them! — Nathaniel Hawthorne, American Notebooks

A blow with a word strikes deeper than a blow with a sword. — Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy

Our words can be used for good or evil. Because of our fallen natures we often misuse words; however, that doesn’t mean that we don’t have a choice in the words we use. Our inattention to the words we use often is a result of our limited capacity to be thoughtful and attentive to others. Ever snapped at your child after a stressful day at work or after losing sleep for several days? Our words, although unintentional, can do great damage to our families and others.

My experience is that it’s more difficult to bless others with my words. Perhaps it’s just a habit that needs developing – practice makes perfect. Yet, words of blessing can have a lasting impact. Just like the seed in the well-known parable, so also a good word will bring forth fruit – thirty-fold, sixty-fold, or a hundred-fold. This reminds me of the movie, “Pay It Forward

I can’t help but wonder if words have an eternal nature. The Word of God certainly does – having the power of creation and salvation. What I mean by “eternal” is a generative nature; a life giving nature. I can’t help but wonder if there is more significance to our words than we know. There is much mystery to Life.

  • A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – Proverbs 15:1
  • Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – Ephesians 4:29


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