Our Words Matter

Bridge Disconnect by Lew (tomswift) Holzman

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
~Unknown origin

I can remember repeating this over and over as a child. Someone would say something that hurt, and this was my immediate response. It was almost as if I was taunting the person who said the hurtful things … You can’t hurt me … no matter what you say. Why don’t you try hitting me instead? But despite how many times I said it, and no matter how hard I tried to believe it, it was never true.

Our words matter.

Words stick with us much longer than the bruises from sticks and stones. They leave a lasting impression on our hearts. Words change how we feel about ourselves and what we think about others.

If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.
~Thumper, in Bambi

Just as often as I heard the old sticks and stones saying, I heard this one. And now, as an adult, I hear it in my head all too often. Think before you speak, Crystal. Don’t say anything you’ll regret later. That nasty email you want to send in response to hurtful words? Don’t do it …

Our words matter.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been spending some time reading the book of James. I have to admit, it has completely knocked my socks off. It has convicted me in ways I never imagined. And it has helped me become grounded in the Word like never before.

James is a largely ignored book, especially in the lectionary. It often gets a bad rep for being all about works and nothing about grace. But what I’ve discovered over the last few weeks is that it’s actually all about grace. It’s all about how grace changes our lives. Grace changes our actions. Through the grace of God, we become mini-Christs. The old song They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love comes to mind … James is all about seeing the evidence of grace in our lives.

A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything – or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony into chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it …
~James 3:5-6, The Message

These words hit me hard. All too often we’ll proclaim the good news of Christ in one breath and in the next we’ll make fun of someone for the clothes they are wearing. Or for the job they have. Or for the way they choose to live their lives.

All too often we go to church on Sunday morning only to come home and yell at our spouse or children for all the things they’ve done (or left undone). We head to school or the workplace on Monday morning and tear down the people that work around us – because we are much more intelligent than they are and we just don’t have enough time to be patient with them. We refuse to call our estranged mother, father, son or daughter because we are too afraid that it might show a sign of weakness.

Our words matter.

The words we say (and the ones we don’t) make a difference. They not only affect the people we are speaking to, but they affect our own actions as well! When we say something, we begin to believe it. Good or bad. Our words can build bridges or walls. James has made me want to use my words for good. To lift people up. To build bridges and make a difference.

Will you join me?

Crystal Rowe

wife to D, mama to A & E, sister, daughter, niece, aunt, follower of Christ, writer, book lover, beloved child of God

  • Anonymous

    The book of James is one of my faves. An author I read tried to discredit it by saying that James was a doubter as Jesus’ brother so we can’t REALLY believe James. I’m like, uh, why is it in the Bible then? Dumb argument.

    • Dumb argument indeed! I had never heard that James was the brother of Jesus until the Bibledude.net project. That little fact really opened my eyes to interpreting the book in a much different way than I ever have before. It has become one of my new favorites … I feel like I could meditate on it for weeks and get something new every time!

      Thanks for stopping by Amy!