Sticks and stones

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”

Oh how I wish that was true, but for so many it isn’t. Words that have been said to us or about us have broken way more hearts than bones in so many woman.

It says in Proverbs 18:21: “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”  Our words have great power, whether they are things we say about ourselves, things said against us, or things we say to others.

We can all admit that we have at one point or another said something to someone – maybe in anger, or on purpose – even if we felt they ‘deserved it’, and later left thinking “…dang, if only I could take that back…” or “…why did i say that? Surely they know I didn’t mean it!” There are some things that once said, can never be taken back, so Jesus tells us to be cautious with the words we use.

So much damage can come from the words we tell ourselves—those words that seem to play like a broken record over and over: “You’re ugly”, “You’re fat”, “You deserved it”, “Nobody will ever love you” or “You are such a loser”. Honestly, this list in particular could go on and on, and it breaks my heart. The more we say these words to ourselves, the more we believe them, the more we believe them, and the more we say them. It truly is a vicious cycle, and one that I hope with the help of Jesus can be replaced with HIS truth for you.

I want to acknowledge the damage that can come from the words that were not said to us. You may be waiting for a parent/spouse to say “I love you”, or a boss to say “well done”, and those words never come. You may have been left wondering what you did or didn’t do to make them not say these things to you, but let me tell you that it was nothing you did or didn’t do. We are all flawed and we are all imperfect people that constantly mess up and are in need of Jesus as much as the next person.

How can we change how we speak to others and and also change the words that have been spoken to us and over us?

Well, we can start to really think before we speak. James 1:19 talks of being quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, which are great traits to strive to live by as Christians.

In order to really bear the fruits that the Bible talks of (Galatians 5:22), we need to be investing in our relationship with Jesus regularly. We need to forget our own ideas about our words – that maybe they aren’t that big of a deal – and remain committed to working towards the way Jesus desires for us to speak to ourselves and to others. Do that with love, kindness, and gentleness, then the less likely we will be to speak without thinking, and more likely we will produce positive fruits.

Let me leave you with this.

Decide today what kind of words you would like to say to yourself. Are they words that encourage positive change in the way you see yourself when you look in the mirror? Words that align with how Jesus sees you?

Do you need to ask someone for forgiveness for the words you may have said, in order to bridge the gap between you?

Whatever the case, your heart is a great indication of the areas in which God may be needing to work out in you. Examine your heart and see what it is that is causing you to lash out or be hard on yourself, and give those things to God. Allow Him to change your heart, and in turn change the words you speak. Perhaps its time for a heart check…