Sunday, October 7, 2012
Sticks and Stones
When I was a kid, they used to chant that old saw, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” Seems like I recall a Peanuts cartoon once in which somebody chanted that, and the next frame had a bunch of sticks and stones falling toward the hapless child. Now, they are trying to create a more gentle society, with laws against “hate speech,” (at least hate speech that isn’t PC), and school assemblies against bullying. So, do words really matter?
Somehow, they really do. You have seen it, I know. A person says something unkind, the person spoken to wells up with tearful eyes, and the names hurt more than the saying admits. Ephesians 4:29 (you can look it up) warns us that the only words that come out of our mouths are supposed to be words that edify. There was a time in my life when a common phrase on a certain friend’s lips was, “Ephesians 4:29, Rich.” So much so that I can’t look at that verse without remembering to add my name. Not that my language is bad, mind you, but because my ornery side teases and puns its way into people’s hearts and minds…..until sometimes it grates on them. Don’t mean it to, it just happens.
Yes, words probably do matter more than we want to admit. In part because Jesus says we are going to have to explain every careless word we have ever used. And, so much so that the scripture says that it was words God used to create things in the first place. In fact, John even uses “Word” to refer to Jesus, the creative and redemptive agent of God. Yup, words matter. And I can tell you, sometimes words are said without even thinking that can be very hurtful to people divorcing. Simple phrases like, “bring your spouse,” or “I would NEVER think of marrying a divorced person,” often said without realizing who is in the room and the impact the words are having.
Somehow, in life, I often end up relating to the Psalmist who asks God to set a guard upon his lips to make sure his speech is pleasing to God. How about you? What kind of “lip service” will you be producing today?
TL:dr God expects our words to reflect His Word.