Sticks And Stones

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!” Yeah right!

As children we were led to believe that sticks and stones could hurt us, while words were harmless. We were fooled! A fractured body heals more quickly than a broken heart.

In his book, The Total Man, Dan Benson shares survey results indicating that moms and dads average ten negative comments toward their kids for every positive one. Not good! Benson writes, "Some experts in child psychology tell us that it takes four positive remarks to offset the damage . . . caused by one negative comment." [1]

It seems children never outgrow their need for affirmation. Passing from childhood through adolescence into adulthood does not render one immune to the venom of a biting remark. Sarcasm, digs, and putdowns can buckle the knees of the young and old alike.

The writer of Proverbs painted an interesting picture when he said, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” (Proverbs 18:13, NIV)

Everyday we carry two items: a sword and a medicine bag. We can play the part of a swashbuckling pirate or of a healing physician. Our words can be weapons or balm. We can inflict pain or we can mend hearts.

What will you do with your words today? Children, associates at work, convenience store clerks, spouses, friends, and "enemies" are just some of those who are within earshot. Make a critical choice right now. Put down your sword. Don’t even carry it out of the house. Make sure your words are a healing balm and not a piercing blade.

MY PRAYER: Father, help me see the wounded, those whose hearts, hopes, and dreams have been lacerated by reckless words. Then help me bring healing words that you will use to mend their hurting souls.


[1] Dan Benson, The Total Man. Tyndale House. 1980, page 183.