You know that saying, “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me”?
I remember the day my dad told me that wasn’t true. I don’t remember what happened or why I was upset, but I do remember a teacher telling me to toughen up and get over feeling hurt. Instead of listening to me, she gave me a harsh criticism: “you know what they say… sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt you.”
But they did hurt. As if demonstrating, the words of life my dad spoke were insight into something very important: words are powerful. They are so powerful that Proverbs says they can bring life or death.
Here are a few examples from chapter 18 of today’s reading:
4 - Wise words are like deep waters; wisdom flows from the wise like a bubbling brook.
6 - fools’ words get them into constant quarrels; they are asking for a beating.
7 - The mouths of fools are their ruin; they trap themselves with their lips.
8 - Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one’s heart.
20 - Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction.
21 - The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.
Words matter. They matter so much that we’re in a series called “Words.” Think about it: the Word is living and active, sharper than any double edged sword; the word it is always useful for teaching, correcting, and rebuking; God spoke and the world came into existence; Christ, the Word of God (John 1:1 and Revelation 19:13) existed before the world began. We are told to hide the word in our hearts. His word does not return void. Throughout the Bible, there are words of wisdom, prophetic words, words of hope and encouragement, judgment, and power. The list goes on.
Verse 14 says, “the human spirit can endure a sick body, but who can bear a crushed spirit?”
I am so thankful that the words in the Bible hold so much power, authority, and life. Reading Proverbs have led me to ask myself a few questions: Do I believe the words in the Bible? I mean really believe them to the point that they shape my identity? Whose voice is most influential in my life? We all need people around us who will speak life and truth to us. Finally, if words do have the power to bring life, who am I speaking life into?