“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
You may disagree with me, but this is one of the biggest, fattest lies we tell ourselves and others.
I wrote a post last year on the topic on the importance of being careful with our words and what Scripture has to say about it. This time, however, God has laid a bit of a different message on my heart.
At work, I try to be a positive, uplifting force to those around me. I try to shake things off as they come and be a voice of calm in the chaos. Of course, this doesn’t always happen, but I try. I try to encourage and love on my peers at school. We’re all in the same boat, and sometimes we just need a positive word to make the day a little better. At my internship, I work with a grateful heart. Sometimes, though, I come home, and it all falls apart.
My cheerful, positive personality is genuine, but sometimes I get tired. Sometimes, when I get home after a long day, I find it much more difficult to find the silver lining, to realize that something is really not a big deal. Then my words become less kind. I can become harsh and insensitive, frustrated and annoyed. My husband doesn’t deserve that – he has long days, too!
Sometimes we are less kind with the people closest to us because we let our guard down, but in all honesty, they should be the people we are the kindest to. We should be encouraging, lifting up, and loving everyone we come into contact with with our words and actions – especially our families. If there is tension in our family life – it doesn’t matter if it’s your siblings, cousins, in-laws, parents, spouse, whoever – it’s going to affect our work life, our school life, and our hearts.
Ironically, the Bible app’s verse of the day is Proverbs 15:1: “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare” (NLT).
This verse has been on my heart for some time – maybe not enough. Our words – and actions for that matter – really do impact people, especially those we love. We shouldn’t just say we love them, we should show them, and that includes speaking kindly to them even when we aren’t feeling our greatest. Everyone deserves to be treated kindly and with respect, regardless of how we feel at the moment. I know that if the words that come out of my mouth in a moment of frustration were said to me, I would be hurt, and that bothers me. So I am working on this. I am quick to catch myself and apologize if I get snappy or harsh. That doesn’t take away what I said, but it shows that I am trying, and I’ve realized that people notice when you try to change. Your words may still hurt them, but they see that you are a struggling, flesh-and-blood human, just like they are.
Have the strength to be kind when you don’t feel like it, because the bottom line is, we really should treat people how we want to be treated, because actions matter, words matter, and people matter.
Photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez