Sticks and Stones
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Not true, kid. Words matter. If you need proof, just have children.
On the heels of having our second son three weeks ago (shameless plug, here’s a picture of Reeves) I am even more aware of the importance of what I say and how I say it. My two year old just recently told me “Thanks, man!” when I gave him an ice cream cone. I wonder where he heard that? He also ruthlessly yells at our dogs to get out of the house, to get out of the way, etc. I think he’s heard his mother yell at them…or maybe me, who could know?
Jesus knew how important our words can be, too, like this advice found in Matthew 15:11: “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” Throughout the Scriptures, there are countless verses about the taming of the tongue, its importance, and the power it holds. Take this one from Proverbs 5:4, for example: “A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.”
There is great power found within our words. All of us can recall times in our lives when words have a made a huge impact, both good and bad. I would even propose that what we say has a lasting impact in eternity. Words have a masterful way of changing and impacting human behavior. We as humans are so moldable, so motivated by how we perceive that we are perceived. This is why it is so important to choose what we say wisely. It matters to people.
So, here’s a little challenge for the week. Say something nice. Say something encouraging. And don’t just do it once. Try to average 5 things a day. See what happens. People are energized by encouragement. There’s a reason I keep a “feel good” folder in my email inbox. Encouragement gets us through the tough days. Encouragement is life-giving. Be a life-giver, not a bone-breaker.