Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, But Words Can Also Hurt Me

KATIE POLSKI|CONTRIBUTOR In first grade, there was a girl in my class who told me that my eyes looked like goldfish. For the love of fish.   I’m still not quite sure what that meant, but I do know that I spent too much time starring at myself in the mirror due to a concern over my fish-like eyeballs. In Highschool, a boy told me I was “pretty cool,” but he tagged that with: “It’s just that guys aren’t going to date a pastor’s daughter.”   And so, I kept that aspect of my identity a secret for as long as I could, coming up with alternative ways to explain my father’s profession.  In college, after playing piano for a chapel service, a student remarked that I swayed a lot when playing. “It looks funny.” I told him he looked funny. It was, admittedly, a terrible comeback and didn’t help my cause at all. But for years, I was conscious of my “movements” while playing at the piano. The Significance of Our Words Words don’t just disappear. At times I wish they did, but from the moment they leave our mouth, they often make their way into the small crevasses of a hearer’s memory and nestle in, sometimes remaining for a lifetime. If our words have this kind of impact, it’s essential that as believers we use them wisely. God certainly intended for us to speak; we’re created in His image, and He is a speaking God giving the world His inspired words for our benefit. But we’re sinners, trudging through a broken world. Every one of us has messed up with our words, and we will likely do damage with them again. God in His graciousness forgives fully and completely, but that doesn’t mean that what we say won’t have a lasting impact. It’s only wise, then, that as believers we give careful consideration to what the Bible has to say about the words we speak. Our Words Reveal the Condition of our Heart “You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil” (Matt. 12:34-35). These two verses are incredibly convicting. Our spiritual condition is made manifest by our words. This doesn’t mean, believer, that your unthoughtful or unkind words are unforgiveable. What it does mean is that we have a responsibility before God to consider the reasons underlying our harsh or rash words...   

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, But Words Can Also Hurt Me2022-05-04T23:24:56+00:00

Words Matter: Honoring the Sanctity of Life with our Words

STEPHANIE HUBACH|CONTRIBUTOR Words matter. Several years ago, when I was working for Mission to North America (MNA) as Special Needs Ministries Director, I was on my way out the door for a trip to Atlanta. With a glint in his eye, my younger son Tim (who has Down syndrome) looked at me and quipped, “Remember: MNA means ‘Mom’s Not Around!’” Whether that remark was shared in the spirit of “It’s boys’ weekend at the Hubach house” or, “You travel too much Mom,” I’m still not sure. If you are a Mom, however, you can guess how I heard it. Words matter. Their meaning matters. Their delivery matters. And all of that matters because the people to whom those words are directed matter. In January each year, many Christians celebrate Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. But what do we mean when we say “sanctity?” And how ought that to inform our not only our message, but our delivery? “Sanctity” is actually very close to the word holiness. In particular, it is akin to the “quality of being sacred, or by law (especially by natural or divine law) immune from violation.” When we speak of the sanctity of human life, we are often focused on calling out the violation of abortion and, instead, promoting the biblical warrant of protecting human life—from conception to natural death. As Christians who uphold the authority of Scripture, we ought to always protect the vulnerable—including the unborn—so that they might be “immune from violation,” the ultimate violation being the experience of intentional death. May we always remain faithful to this. At the same time, however, we need to carefully share our message of being pro-life—"for the life of my neighbor”—in a way that is immune from violation as well. Have you ever thought of your words as a weapon? Have you ever considered that good concepts can be presented in a way that actually “undoes the goodness” via the violence of language? In a world of tweets and texts, it is very easy for us to lose sight of this. Snark can creep in. Our words can suddenly become curt, sarcastic, cutting, demeaning, and brutal. Rather than focusing on private righteous action, we can find ourselves simply trying to illicit a public raging reaction—one that unquestioningly affirms the validity of our view, while harshly discrediting that of another...

Words Matter: Honoring the Sanctity of Life with our Words2022-05-04T23:41:02+00:00
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