Sticks and stones will break your bones but words will never hurt you. This is a lie that has left scars and also plagued my mind pretty much my whole life. I am bruised by words that were spoken over me about me and to me over the last 37 years of my life. As a child,as a teenager and into adulthood and even in ministry. Some words I definitely earned with my behavior and choices I made. Others were lies and yet I still felt the sting. I often wonder if I would have walked in a different direction if I would have been treated with words that built me up and propped me up to follow Jesus with all I had. From very early on I was so boy crazy that I would have a boyfriend in every area of my life. Clogging,school, and church. It was a safe place for me and my go to drug at such a young age. I earned the badge boy crazy and I walked in that. I remember wanting to play with the girls on the playground but couldn't because something inside me drove me to get the boys attention. From middle school into high school I began to wear all sorts of names and looking back now I was so lost in the approval of others and the words that rolled off the tongues of so many people's lips were both hurtful and created scars. Sadly I believe early on in ministry was the worst of them all and it has taken years to get over that. You see sticks and stones do hurt but words leave wounds and a scarring that hurts much deeper. I remember someone calling me the "heavy set" one after I had my first daughter and I began to hate myself and before long I found myself in bondage to body image and years followed with deep rooted pain. I truly believe our words have the ability to change this world, ignite dreams and also kill someones dreams and spirit. I know people who never think before they speak and they usually spend hours and weeks of regret wishing they could take it all back. I know others who are coming out of verbally abusive relationships and their hearts are wounded to what seems beyond repair. I know teenagers who call each other skanks, whores, ugly, stupid and their lifestyles seem to follow those words
and suddenly they are doing bad in school, being promiscuous and desiring anyone to notice them. Today I was reminded of the words that Jesus spoke on the cross after a brutal beating. He said "Father forgive them for they know not what they do"Wait what?( I think we often know exactly what we are saying.) In that moment Jesus could have put everyone in their place, talked about "their mama's" , spread vicious rumors, called a committee to gossip, shared the sins of the world with the world and yet He chose to speak words that gave life. Today I ran into someone who asked me if remembered them and honestly I had no idea who they were. He asked about Richard and because God had pressed down on me the weight of my words I was careful and told them all about our church and all that God had done in my life along with Richards. I wanted him to walk away with a glimpse of Jesus. Today remember your words weigh a lot and you have the power to speak life into someone. I am encouraged in this moment because I have an incredible group of people not only cheering me on but walking beside me and praying me through this season of my life. Who surrounds you? You are not the labels you wear you are simply a masterpiece that God intends to use for a greater purpose so walk in that!!!
Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. (Psalms 139:4 ESV)