Sticks and Stones May Break Your Bones:
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21).
I was chatting with a backslidden friend of mine on MSN Messenger one day several years ago, and my heart was grieved by what he told me. He told me that a so-called Christian was swearing at him, and calling him all kinds of rude and derogatory names. I was so upset when I heard that. I tried to make it very clear to my friend that what this other person did was completely unacceptable, and that they were wrong in doing it. The Bible says, “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” (Ephesians 4:29). So if you’re a Christian, I want to give you this challenging word today – WATCH YOUR WORDS.
There’s a popular little verse that says, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” Little children often use this to respond to someone who has just called them names, as a way of saying, “You didn’t hurt me.” But there’s not very much truth to this statement. I’d rather take sticks and stones to name-calling any day. You see, if you get hurt by a stick or a stone, you’ll maybe get a cut or a bruise that will eventually heal. However, when you get called a name, even though it may not leave a physical scar, it will hurt your heart.
How powerful are words? The Bible says that life and death are in the power of the tongue. That means that by the words you speak to someone else, you can bring either life or death into their heart – that’s a sobering thought. When you use foul or abusive language, calling people names, you are speaking words of death to them. Those words are “cutting” remarks that are destroying that person. Proverbs 12:18 says, “Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.” When you speak good and helpful words, you can encourage the person you are speaking to, speaking life to them. The Bible says about the tongue, “So also, the tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do. A tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.” (James 3:5).
You have a choice as to how you will use your words. Life and death are in the power of your tongue. You have the ability to build someone up…or tear them down. How are you going to use your words? First Thessalonians 5:11 says: “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” There’s so much fighting and hurting going on in our world today. Let’s go forth into our world as the ambassadors of love that God has called us to be – people of love, commissioned to the healing of broken people, and a force for God. Your kind and compassionate words could heal someone’s broken heart today, and give them hope.
Pastor Chris Jordan