Sticks and Stones

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never harm me.” 
We may have mimicked these words while playing as children, but we were kidding no one.  Unkind and hurtful words spoken in haste can follow us throughout life!  They become soul wounds. Words are forces that either heal or hurt.  They either affirm or negatively affect us. 
Someone I know was often referred to as “a dumbass” during his childhood and it took him many years to shake the emotional and residual effects of what became a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Sadly, those words became the filter through which he viewed life.  I know, because that “someone” was me!”
That’s why I love to affirm others today.  God wants us to call forth the potential in them, to speak life-altering words over them.  Such was the case when I was seven years old.
As a boy, no one had difficulty picking me out of family photos.  I was the one with the big head!  From infancy through early adolescence my head grew disproportionately with the rest of my body.  Classmates would sneak up behind me, tap the back of my head and yell, “Hey, fathead!”  I laughed on the outside, but inside these words cut like a knife. 
One summer day a pastor and his wife visited our home to invite us to attend their little church.  I was hiding in the shadow of the door to our home; however, like a magnet the wife’s attention was directed toward me.  She asked, “What’s your name?” I replied with a sheepish grin.
She then knelt down, her eyes level with mine, placed both hands on my head and said, “My, what a handsome little boy you are.”  Only God knows the full impact of those kind words!  Hands of love embraced my head where hands of ridicule had often struck.  In that instance, my life was changed.  That’s how powerful words can be!
Overcome with emotion, I ran to my bedroom and cried.  I had experienced unconditional love and acceptance.  A soul wound was healed that day!
Words of affirmation, perhaps insignificant to other members of my family, pulled out a deep-seated hurt from within me.   Her hands were Jesus’ hands extended.  Kind words literally changed the course of my life.  I immediately wanted to become a preacher, although at the time I did not really know what a preacher did – I just knew I wanted what that pastor’s wife possessed!
Yes, “sticks and stones do break bones, and words can harm us.”  However, life-giving words impact all of us in ways too numerous to understand.



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