Saturday, 22 June 2013

Sticks and Stones

The power of a word, statement, phrase, whatever you like to call it can carry way more meaning than we think. Words have the power to make or break you and it’s often the incredible or downright nasty statements we tend to remember. Ever tried to shake off a terrible nickname? Try having a couple of them to keep you company... although you laugh and smile through it, being called things like a rat isn’t as amusing as it sounds, although the nickname died off as high school came to an end, up until this very day every time I catch a glimpse of my profile in the mirror I always think to myself “Oh... that’s why they called me a rat”.... So why am I sharing this with you? Not to look for pity but rather to think about the impact that words have.

Even though my life has been the butt of many jokes, literally, (one of my other nicknames in Anus... oh the joy of that one) I’ve always laughed through it. Listen, I love sarcasm, but it’s become very easy for me to distinguish between a lighthearted joke and a joke with a bit of venom. I really don’t understand the point of belittling people’s characters... yes sometimes people look weird, do weird things, or even wear weird things but why point it out in front of a group of friends just to be funny? Sometimes it’s better if its just said behind your back; at least you won’t look like a complete idiot in front of people with nothing to say.

Okay I know it may seem like I’m letting off a bit of steam but something happened the other day where I got to observe someone mock something my mom just bought. My mom never buys herself anything so she was very proud of her new purchase but for someone to take a jab at it, although it was a joke, I could see how it hurt my mom and it really hurt me to. This has really opened my eyes to the fact that, yes we are all uniquely different, and before passing comments about someone else think about how much that person might love the thing you mocking, it’s hurtful and will probably make them very insecure about it in the future.

So why do people belittle others? To make themselves look good? Because of jealousy? To break someone’s happiness? I truly have no idea, I for one will never belittle someone, although sometimes I think of something funny or nasty I will never ever say it at the expense of someone else's happiness, I receive no pleasure out of it! Exchange belittlement for encouragement, don’t use torment for amusement, because in the end you are going to be the only one laughing when you look around and wonder where all your friends have disappeared to.

God specifically warns us against the negative power of words “Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.” Proverbs 13: 3 “Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.” Proverbs 21:23

If you are someone who gets brought down by words that aren't always pleasant, let me tell you this: Jesus Christ is your greatest role model! Tons of people mocked and tormented him all the days of His earthly life. Maybe out of jealousy, or his “weird” ways of doing things completely different to others or maybe even just out of shear disbelief. But it didn't sway him from his mission, his vision or even his genuine love for the people around him (even sinners)! Jesus gave up his life for our life and even to save the people who mocked him. So I looked at it like this, let people bring me down, let them slap me in the face with words, it won’t shake me, or break me, I know who I am and words don’t define me!

Just as bad as words may be they too can bring life, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21. The Bible is the word of life. Although God only spoke words to a specific nation of chosen people His words carried such power that it has influenced the entire world for years upon end. Let our words bring joy and hope. Let’s think twice about the impact our words have on others. Words of encouragement, wisdom, guidance, compassion and love can change a person’s universe. Words spread like wildfire so let your flames burn with wholesome talk.