Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words....?

I find it interesting that, as the years advance, I learn that things I had previously thought to be accurate are actually incorrect.  As a child, at some point, I realized Santa wasn't real, and that the Tooth Fairy was just my parents slipping some money under my pillow as I slept.  In my teen years, somewhere in that time of confusion and awkwardness, I discovered I didn't know everything (something I still have to be reminded of at times), and that my parents actually did have a clue.  As a married adult, I've learned that piling up credit card debt is not as much fun as it sounds, and that digging out of that is much more painful then the frivolous purchases that have long been forgotten. 

Anyone remember the childhood rhyme - Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?  I dare say we've all quoted that saying at some point in our lives.  It sounds simple, but is it?  I can still remember specific moments when things that were said about me hurt (to be fair, I did give people plenty of opportunities).  I believe we all have those memories.  Maybe we still have those hurts.  Maybe things said recently have cut like a knife.

That's the easy part - remembering how you were hurt.  But now try this exercise - Think of words you've said that have hurt others?  Oh, now THAT stings.  Now instead of being the victim we are the offender. We are the cause of the pain others feel because of the words we've chosen.

On September 2, 2005, in front of a live nation audience, Kanye West proclaimed "George Bush doesn't care about black people."  Those are strong and powerful words.  Once shared, there was no taking them back either.  How did those words resonate with President Bush?  In a recent interview with Matt Lauer, he shared that he views those comments as "One of the most disgusting moments in my presidency."  Imagine that.  After all that happened during his presidency, THIS is one of the worst things that happened during his tenure?

Proverbs 15:4 reminds us - "Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit."  Don't tell me words can't hurt.  They can devastate.  But they can also build up and encourage and spread love.  It's your choice.

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