“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
Biggest. Lie. Ever.
Words . . . words spoken . . . words written . . . words matter.
I’m a words person. Whether I’m speaking, writing, reading, or listening to them, words are my thing. And the easiest way to get on my good side is to use the right words (hint . . . hint). It’s no surprise that my primary love language* is Words of Affirmation, but I’d venture that no matter who you are (and whatever your love language may be), the words that others say (or don’t say) matter hugely.
Our words carry weight. Our words carry power. Words can be a weapon to hurt or a balm to bring healing. But make no mistake. Words matter.
And I have zero doubt that God not only knew that, He intended that. He used words to speak our world and our very being into existence. And while we don’t, thankfully, wield the same power with our words as our Creator, the words we speak to others and to ourselves carry no small amount of weight.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21
I’ve often heard this scripture tossed around as a way for people to get what they want . . . “just say it, and you can have it” . . . but I think it’s far more than that. I believe that it’s an admonition to use our words carefully. To use them to build others up . . . to bring healing rather than hurt . . . to speak truth to lies and bring light to the darkness.
Make no mistake, there will be times when the truth is hard to hear and accept, but as I’ve said so many times before truth should always be spoken with grace. And there is absolutely no room for the speaking or the glorifying of words that are harmful and detrimental and that tear others down regardless of how we feel about them. Those words are a far from truth and will always bring harm.
I pulled up the words “death” (4194) and “life” (2425b) in Strong’s. Shockingly (read with a bit of sarcasm) “death” literally means death, and “life” literally means life (and side note: we often complicate the word of God where it is very clear and straight forward). Because words are so important to me, I know how to use them for both good and bad, and I’m not proud of the fact that I can and have used my own words as a weapon. But the fact is, our words, my words, are going to produce fruit one way or another, and we’re are going to eat that fruit. So we had best be sure that the words we speak bring life to all who hear them.
Sticks and stones will break bones . . . and bones can heal. Our physical bodies can heal. But the words we speak, once they are said, can never be taken back, and the damage they can do or the life they bring can last far longer than any physical injury.
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