the perfect day to say something nice.
“But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” James 3:8 KJV
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me.”
Most of us learned this when we were little. Our brother or sister, neighbor or schoolmate would call us a name and we would run to our mother or father full of tearful indignation and hurt and would then be told this little rhyme as a way to make us feel better.
As innocent as it may appear and as sincerely helpful its intent might have been, the truth is, injuries caused by words that are thrown like daggers can be as debilitating and hurtful as injuries caused by a real dagger.
Words or names can cut; they can sting; they can bruise and make one bleed, just not in the physical sense. But the damage can be just as severe, and long lasting, as that caused by objects that are wielded as weapons and used to physically strike someone and cause pain or injury.
From the time we are little, we are taught that physically striking another person is wrong because we can hurt them. But with the seemingly innocent words in that rhyme, we send the message that we are free to say whatever we want because words are just air and can cause no harm.
We were taught – and we teach – to toughen our skins, rather than soften our tongues.
The truth is, if words were harmless, if what we said had no effect on others, and if God didn’t care what we said or when we said it, there would not be so much emphasis in the Bible on using caution, compassion, care and kindness when opening our mouths to speak. Jesus’ brother, James, thought that the words coming from our lips were extremely important.
He said, “Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.” (James 3:2 NLT).
How much better to teach our children that, “Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and health to the bones.” (Proverbs 16:24 KJV).
And what better way to live our own lives than controlling our tongues when speaking to strangers, neighbors, friends, and especially to our spouses and other loved ones.
How much better to use words to heal rather than to hurt?
How much better to use words to help rather than to harm?
How much better to encourage rather than disparage?
Having God in mind before we open our mouths will benefit both the speaker and the listener because, “The words of the godly encourage many…” (Proverbs 10:21 NLT).
Perhaps what is needed is an updated version of the old rhyme for us to remember, and to teach our children. How about:
“Sticks and stones can hurt someone,
But words can do the same.
People hurt deep down inside,
When they are called a name.”
Use the gift of today to say something nice.
Taken from “TODAY IS….A Gift From God”, (C) 2013 Tony Casson