“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” I’m sure that by now, all of us know that that phrase is, in fact a lie, because often it’s the words that people throw at us that hurt the most. They find a way to burrow deep into our hearts, festering until our entire body is infected by them. The words that we use matter because they influence how we behave.
Our words flow out of what’s in our hearts. So when our hearts are full of junk and grime, our words are going to be coated in the same thing. However, if our hearts are tapped into the mercy and grace of God, our words will be dripping with love as thick as honey.
“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”Luke 6:45 ESV
The first step in righting our words is cleansing our soul. I know that if all I do is watch trashy shows and read dark books, my heart will crack and blister, which leads to me feeling uneasy, on edge, and irritated. On the other hand, if I focus on spending time with the Lord and meditating on His Word and filter what I’m taking in to make sure that it’s in line with how God’s Word, then my heart begins to flourish. You can’t grow in toxic soil. You need to have your roots firmly planted by the streams of the Lord.
The second step to honey up our words is to tweak the way we talk about certain things. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who has uttered these words in the waking moment of the morning, “I have to spend time with the Lord now.” These words are often quickly followed with begrudgingly sitting down for five minutes to read a verse or two, and then I’m off to another task. It doesn’t take a genius to notice that that’s not how we should be approaching our time with the Lord. Our hearts should be excited to spend time with our Creator, rather than just checking another item off our Christian to-do list. We need to change our vocabulary from “have to” to “get to.” When we say we “have to” to do something, it implies that whether we like it or not, we’re going to do it but probably not with the best attitude. Whereas when we change our words to “get to,” it also changes our perspective because getting to do something stirs up feelings of joy and expectation in our hearts. Having to spend time with the Lord leads to resentment and needing to check things off a list. Getting to spend time with the Lord leads to eager anticipation of what’s going to happen next. Changing one little word can change our entire outlook on something, especially something as important as spending time with our Saviour.
I believe that the phrase “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” was meant to teach kids that words only have power if we give it to them. On their own, they don’t mean anything, but the instant we give them retail space in our minds, they begin to mean everything. We can be the ones to change the narrative. We can be the ones to make sure that the words we say are flowing out of a heart that is firmly rooted in the Lord. We can make sure that we are growing in love rather than sinking into destruction. Our words have power; let’s use them to first change our perspective and then the lives of those around us.