When my son was just a little guy, he spouted out a curse word in the middle of Walmart! I was mortified. I quickly looked around to be sure that no one I knew heard my sweet boy’s words. 15+ years later, I still am not sure how he knew the words most less how to use them in context.
As soon as we got home, I made him eat butter….(which may seem strange but he literally gagged at the taste of butter back then). After a spoonful of butter and a good explanation from me as to why we don’t use words like that, I went to the Bible looking for a verse that he – and I – could memorize to remind us that our speech should honor the Lord.
This verse has been one that I have never forgotten. Since he was around 3 at the time, I simplified it for him but I can assure you that over the years, I have reminded him of our learning the meaning of this verse.
Recently I have been reminded of the importance of this verse. I try not to be careless with my words but sometimes, well…it just happens. God’s Word tells us that our words are to encourage and lift others up. The old saying about stick and stones – I just don’t believe it. But did you know that it’s been around for a very long time? Since 1862!! That’s 155 years of taunting on the playground. I’m blown away. Here is the other thing that got me. It is reported that it first appeared in The Christian Recorder which was a publication of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Here’s what Wikipedia (I know, please don’t judge me) says about the phrase, “The rhyme persuades the child victim of name-calling to ignore the taunt, to refrain from physical retaliation, and to remain calm and good-natured.” But it’s just not true. Words hurt!
I just have to say it again…..words HURT!!
Psalm 64 is a plea for protection from an enemy, from the wicked. But verse 3 speaks the truth of what is on my heart here. It says “…bitter words like arrows,”. And when they pierce us like an arrow and forgiveness is sought and given, there are times that those hurtful words are like a branding on our brains and on our hearts. I have four words that haunt me. For over twenty years now, these four words have effected me. And not in a good way. Because someone who, at one time was very important to me, said something hurtful I struggle with self-esteem. It’s a hard truth for me to type out loud.
I love what Proverbs says about our words.
Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
~ Proverbs 16:24 ~
Isn’t this what we should strive for? Giving “sweetness to the soul” of those we love? Of course, there are times that truth, that is hard, must be spoken. But God’s Word addresses that too! In Ephesians chapter 4 when Paul is preaching to the church at Ephesus, he shares that “speaking the truth in love” helps us grow towards Christ.
I’m on a journey in this life. I am not perfect but I praise the Lord for laying things on my heart that I need to give attention to. The words of my mouth are something I need to pay more attention to. I need to let my “yes be yes” and my “no be no”. I need to use my words to give “sweetness to the soul” of others. And if there are hard things that need to be said, I need to say them “truthfully in love”.
Until next time……
Joy to You!