“Sticks and Stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”
Research shows the truth is that words actually have long lasting and profound effects in the development of children and in relationships. Often times we forget that what we say matters. We live in a society that so frequently is filled with words that are negative, discouraging, and judgmental. In relationships, words of anger are fueled by unmet expectations and bring discontentment setting the relationship on the course of destruction. As parents, words of disappointment and harsh rebuke can shatter a child’s self- esteem and make them feel unworthy of love. Phrases such as, “Hey stupid”, ‘ What is the matter with you?”, “Can’t you do anything right”, “I hate you”, “You disgust me”, and “Don’t you know how to listen” are spoken to both child and partner alike. These types of words can create messages of, “I am not worthy to be loved”, “I am worthless and have no value to anyone”, “I can’t do anything right”, that play over and over in person’s thoughts creating a negative self- image. God instructs us in Proverbs 15:1 that “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Our God tells us there is a definite difference in the way others respond to soft and harsh words. Soft words turn away wrath and harsh words stir up anger. WOW!!!!
Just as words can tear down a person, words can build a person up. God tells us in Proverbs 16:24 “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” He encourages us to choose our words wisely and to use them to build each up. We are to use words that help someone want to be a better Christian, stay clean and sober, perform better in a race, score higher on a test, be a better spouse, and teach our children that they are worthy of love and affection. The words we use can bring healing to soul and body. Something as simple as the words we choose can help a person heal both emotionally and physically.
Sticks and Stones can break bones. Broken bones hurt and typically leave visible wounds. Usually time will allow the body to repair and the visible brokenness disappears. Contrary to the poem, words DO hurt and cause internal wounds which cannot be seen. Healing from these internal wounds, internal brokenness, feelings of unworthiness, feelings of being unlovable and shattered self-esteem is sometimes very difficult.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” cannot be further from the truth. Words Matter. My prayer for each of us is that we take a moment and reflect on the message we want to convey and the words we choose to convey it.
May God Bless each of you and may your words be ones of encouragement and love.