Devotion and Prayer for Week of September 16, 2012

Meditation for the Week of September 16, 2012

“Sticks and Stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me!”


A couple of weeks ago in church one of our ladies led the children’s message using this old saying.  She made the point that most of us have heard this saying since very early childhood.  And to emphasize how true the saying was, she brought in a relatively large stick that had fallen off a tree in here yard.  All of the children agreed that this stick would certainly hurt you and could break a bone.  She did the same thing with a big stone from her garden.

But then she said, if the first part of the saying is true, can we assume that the second part of the saying is also true?  Many of the adults in the congregation shook their heads in disagreement.  But the leader showed how good and positive words, expressions of love, friendship and compliments, are words that don’t hurt.  But then she talked about how words of anger, hate, falsehood and gossip do, in fact, hurt people. These words hurt people very badly maybe even worse than a broken bone, because words can even break a heart.

All of this came to mind when I read the Epistle lesson for this week from the book of James.  In part James says this: “In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire.” (3:5-6a)

James is making the point of how hard it is to control our tongue, and if only we could our lives would be so much better.  James is reflecting what our Children’s message speaker said, that words can hurt, hurt a great deal and in many and varied ways.  We need to be careful because our words can cause many problems.  James continues and says this: (The tongue) is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.” (3:6)

At times we speak words that are pleasant and complimentary and then turn around and in the next breath speak words that are ugly and hateful.  James says to us that this is not right.  He says that we should in all that we say and do seek to lift up each other and not tear each other down.  We certainly see this in the political commercials airing on television and radio.  So many of the ads are negative ads, sharply critical of the other candidate and quite honestly most of them are not truthful.  So not only is the ad hurtful and hateful it lacks the quality of truth.  And we complain about these ads, yet research says they are effective.  That may be because we too have trouble with our words and what we say to and about others.

This is a good time for us to think about our tongues and the words they form and spit out of our mouths.  Are they words that love, that lift up, that compliment and love?  Or are they words that hate, denigrate, destroy and tear down?   The conclusion from James is that it is not right that our tongues should spit forth both types of words.  But that as we live our lives as followers of Jesus Christ, we should focus on the words that lift up, that are pleasant and complimentary and that express love.   If we did that the old saying would be true, “That sticks and stones can break your bones, but words will never hurt me.”  Speak words that don’t hurt.

Our Weekly Prayer         

Holy Lord, Almighty God and Father, you have created me with a tongue that can speak. My you fill heart, mind and spirit with only words that lift up and love.  Then my tongue will never have to speak words that hurt.  Show me how through your Son, Jesus Christ, I can have a live that is full of love and good news.  Lift up my heart to you and may all words be those that bring honor and glory to my Lord and Savior.  I pray  in Jesus’ most holy name. Amen