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Sticks and Stones

We all know that childhood poem that our parents encouraged us to say on the elementary playground....

"sticks and stones
may break my bones
but names
will never hurt me"

Yeah, not so sure about that.

Words are pretty powerful.

I remember Josh reading this book about the power of speaking positive into your life and also others (the title slips me, it started to get a little too "new-age-y" so he never finished it.) Anyway.....he read this section to me that always stuck in my head. It basically talked about a little girl who loved to sing. She had a really good voice and one day, she was singing as she always did while doing her homework. Her mom was very stressed out and came home from work....things got chaotic in the home.....and in the middle of a meltdown told her that she wanted her to just stop singing. Also in heat of it all, told her that she had a terrible voice.

That little girl never sang another song. Her spirit was crushed.....she never had the confidence again. What could have bloomed into an amazing talent in her future, was squelched in the matter of a few words.

You probably know the "hole in the fence" theory. I often tell my children this. Now remember, I never claim to be raising Beaver and Wally Cleaver.....my kids can have their smackdowns just like any other. And Josh and I, of course, are far from Ward and June Cleaver ourselves (kinda thankful about that....did they really sleep in separate twin beds back then?)

Anyway, aside from normal sibling taunting......I remind them that saying hurtful words into others' lives can and will be irreversible. The words that ridicule, mock or attack will never bring life as Jesus wants us to do. Each time we speak something negative it is like banging a nail into a fence. Yes, we can apologize......and that would pull the nail out. But the hole still remains.

Words are powerful stuff. The Bible tells us that "With his mouth the godless destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous escape" in Proverbs 11:9

Words can build someone up.....or pull them down. They can bless.....they can curse.

Today, I encourage you to only speak positive words into others' lives. (and believe me, I know this can be very difficult).....keep remembering the other familiar quote we were taught as children....."If you can't say anything nice, don't say it at all". Sometimes we get surrounded by people in our life, where if we apply this Golden Rule, .....it is difficult to speak at all.

Trust me. I know.

When someone is being negative around you, turn it around. I love this advice I read in Mothering Magazine one time......it spoke about how this woman who had a mother-in-law who always tried to trigger a fight or spark a debate and she was not interested in putting her energy into it. So she would let the woman spew her lava, nod and smile and then say...."oh I see {pause a moment}..... can you pass the bean dip?" Her MIL would just have this blank stare on her face and not know what to say after that. Worked like a charm.

Also remember that you should apply this to yourself as well......speak and think positive into your own life. Believe and know that God is doing great things in your life. Let's not insult Him by finding fault or pointing out the negative. Remember......when He is in us......we are a new creation. We are His children, made in His image.


I want to encourage, instead of tear down.
I want to be a blessing....not a curse.
I want to bring light to others....not darken the mood.
I want to offer healing to others.....not cause pain.

(even when they are trying to push my buttons)

Be kind and compassionate to one another,
forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

~Ephesians 4:32

I hope this finds you all smiling and well.....



Catherine said...

Great thoughts, Michelle. Thank you for posting this!

Mich said...

Beautiful post.

I know only too well how words affect people...I think half my fears can be traced back to hurtful words and experiences.

Thank you for sharing. I needed those words today.

Sonja said...

thanks, Michelle. This is something God's been working on in me lately. Praying I can be more encouraging with my words.

amanda said...

yeppers. only positive for you too sweet friend. you've been on my mind a lot today. so know that i'm praying for you! love you!!

christy rose said...

You built me up today with your positive words in this post.
Have a wonderful weekend.

Anonymous said...

Choosing your words without first thinking of the consequences is like pulling the trigger of a gun without taking aim.

Thanks for the kind words, love you- daddy

ps- sorry if this blog is about me

jen said...

This is so very true. Every time I am always careful with those outside my family and am working on choosing encouragement even when like you said my buttons are being squashed.
Thanks for the reminder.

Muthering Heights said...

This is a wonderful post...and a great reminder!!

Karen said...

Thank you for the reminder, Michelle. I know I need to be a little nicer to people and this was beautifully stated.

Billy Coffey said...

So true, Michelle. Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words can break our hearts.

Farmgirl Paints said...

Hi Michelle,
Great post. Love the words at the end. I know that is my prayer. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting today. I hope you come back:)

Shark Bait said...

Nice writing style you've got there. Love the humour. (I would)

Very true what you have to say too.

Kim said...

Great! This is so great!

Thank you. In this world it is SO hard. There are times that you start talking about someone just to reassure yourself that you aren't the only one that feels a certain way.....but in the end, it is still negative. Regardless of how we turn it or what we try to make of it.

We are all just trying to belong, but belonging because we all love is better than belonging because we tear down.


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