Sticks and Stones

By Stan Mitchell
stones33.jpg“With his mouth, the godless one would destroy his neighbor” (Proverbs 11:9 ESV).
“Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered” (Proverbs 11:13, ESV).
I know you remember this: You were with a bunch of other kids, probably in the school playground and a disagreement erupted. The kids begin to call each other names – “Fat boy,” or “Stupid,” “Dummy” – or worse!
Tears began to sting eyes, vulnerable little hearts were broken, when someone stood, and full of bravado quoted the following proverb:
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.”
Making that statement was courageous, and reinforcing, but you know the truth now that you are an adult; it was pure bravado. As that child made his or her way home, the tears of heartbreak spoke to the real truth.
Cruel words do hurt. Name calling bruises. Words cut and shred just as surely as the sticks and stones might. That phrase may be a proverb, but it is not from the book of Proverbs, and is untrue as it can be.
The wise man of Proverbs knew better. He understood the power of words.
Give me the sticks and stones any day. Breaks and bruises on the body can be cleaned and healed; cutting remarks, put downs and gossip will fester and hurt a psyche for a lifetime.
Deep down, we understand the destructive — or uplifting — power of words.
Let’s use them wisely and lovingly!

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