Posted by: R M White | 09/19/2008

Sticks and Stones … Words Will Never Hurt Me

This note was originally written on September 19, 2008- a few things have happened in my life recently that caused me to find it and want to re-post it.

I think almost all of us heard this little saying – it was usually chanted in response to some bully calling you names, or it was what Mommy or Daddy told us when they learned that we were hurt by what someone said or called us. My belief is that these are some of the most untrue words we will ever hear or ever be told to believe. “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me” is an outright lie. Words hurt. Words destroy.

I was talking with one of my daughters the other day and she mentioned watching Nanny 911 and getting some good advice from it. I have watched the show only a couple of times but after our conversation I came back into Jonell’s room and it was on – Nanny 911. It actually comes on the country music channel Joni watches sometimes in the afternoon and well, there it was, so, I watched the rest of the show in progress. The premise of each show is that this is a family gone awry and needs help desperately. This particular episode centered around a foul-mouth, screaming Mom. I was so ashamed for her and embarrassed that an actual Mother would be caught on tape mistreating her children this way – and her spouse. She seemed an intelligent woman, she didn’t lack for knowledge of proper words, she wasn’t ignorant but her mouth was filthy and she chose to belittle her family in her frustration rather than encourage, heal and improve in any manner. Nanny was appalled. I was disgusted. Fortunately, this Mom saw the error of the language she used and corrected it. By using building-up words, hugs, and soft but firm responses the whole atmosphere of her home turned from chaos to calm.

Well, after watching this episode I reflected on a number of thoughts over the past few days. One is that the heart of every home is the wife and mother. Another is comparing physical abuse to verbal abuse. And still another is accidental harm – unintentional bruising and scarring we inflict on someone we love or claim to love.

I believe within God’s Word we have access to amazing words of wisdom and knowledge and we have what we need to deal with any thing – I mean anything – this life can throw at us. If we open the Word, humbly learn from it and apply it to our lives then we have a fighting chance to live victoriously. With this divine guidance we have a fighting chance to instill in our precious children the emotional tools, or weapons to fight valiantly in this world and live a life that matters. We don’t have to be a ‘basket case’ when it comes to dealing with the frustrations of this life. We do not have to succumb to the blackness that can threaten to overcome our very soul. We don’t have to live life under the control of a bad temper or mean disposition. Granted, sometimes we lash out in pain but many, so many times, we lash out at those we love the most because simply put, we choose not to exercise self-control.

Okay, so I mentioned the heart of every home is the wife and mother. This is so from the Bible. There are numerous thoughts I have about this concept but suffice it to point out for now that we as women have a unique role in life – our most wonderful task is to provide nurture to those in our circle of influence… most importantly, our immediate family. Our words should feed the soul not kick it into a malnourished state. I want to write another note on this later.

The other thought I will mention briefly with more to come later is physical abuse verses verbal abuse. Both of these are equally evil and condemned by our Heavenly Father. There are numerous scriptures dealing with our words and how they are used. God is so straight when he tells us how to use our conversation. There is no doubt He condemns fighting and fussing in our family. Sure, there are going to be tough times, and even days when we are at our wit’s end but the blueprint is there on how to deal with those moments and it is not hitting or yelling at those we are to instead blanket in security and unconditional love. When we’ve engaged in these wicked behaviors we have to acknowledge them, we have to recognize them as the sin they are and repent. Most importantly, we should ask forgiveness from the ones we have injured.

The place God designed for a wife to go when times are tough is to the security of her husband’s arms. The place a husband is to go when he feels the world is against him is into the faithfulness and belief of his wife’s embrace. And most of all, the haven where a child is to retreat to when the world around seems so scary and big and challenging is the refuge of his/her parents’ embrace … a Daddy’s and a Mommy’s arms and heart are meant to be a sanctuary in this crazy, mixed up, sinful world. The words – all the words – a child hears from his/her parents’ mouths should be lessons in love.

Unintentional bruising and scarring will take place because of unintentional words or misguided actions. Sometimes we just mess up – it’s inevitable. We have to acknowledge these times too, even if it is not a way of life – because they still are wrong. “I’m Sorry” are two of the most beautiful words a person can say or as the case may be, hear.

Words. I love words. I am afraid of words. My use of them is one of my most mighty weapons or tools at my command. I can use words to destroy, belittle, and conquer into quivering submission or goad into defiant reactions. Or I can use words to enlighten, encourage, and create beauty – I can weave a tapestry of wonderful memories for my loved ones. I can use words to build a fortress of security, faithfulness and love.

Words. I pray my words will never hurt the ones I love the most. I pray the world will hear me and my words and hear Christ. I pray I will never cause embarrassment to the Heavenly Father. I pray as a Christian I will not bring shame to the one whose name I wear. If I have wounded you in any way, please accept my apology. If my words have hurt you, I’m sorry.

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