I felt like an outcast. Nobody liked me (at least that’s what I thought) and they didn’t even know me. We had just moved to a new town over the summer and now I was going into the sixth grade in a brand new school. This age is hard enough on its own, but to walk into a school where most of the kids had grown up with each other and knew each other, as the new kid on the block (literally), was intimidating, to say the least.
I can’t honestly say I remember much about my school days. On this particular day I couldn’t tell you how long I had been standing at the side entrance, waiting for my mom to pick me up, when a boy walked by me and asked, “Are you a boy or a girl?”
My mom always kept my hair short because it was thick, wavy and bushy. I hated being a redhead when I was growing up, and was never the pretty girl the guys liked. I felt ugly, and on top of that I was chunky because I loved to eat. I used to get teased and called names about being redheaded, which made me feel inferior.
What are the words that have hurt you?
They somehow seem to stick with us throughout life. We can overcome the heartache they caused. We can overcome the doubt they started in our minds. We can even overcome the hurt. But for some reason we don’t forget the words.
I don’t even know who asked me that question. I am sure the boy who said that to me in the sixth grade doesn’t even remember it or realize that it damaged me, but I had to live with the effects of his thoughtless question for years. I have forgiven, but have obviously never forgotten.
I sometimes wonder who has been hurt by my words at some time in their life. Words I can’t take back. Words that hurt them deeply and they have never forgotten. I hope they have forgiven me.
As I raised my children I tried to teach them to be nice, to not bully, and love others. I know kids will be kids, and unfortunately kids can be cruel. But guess what? Adults can too.
How can we take what has caused us harm and turn it for good?
1. Pray, asking God to use what has hurt you to help someone else.
2. Practice what you preach.
3. Purposely prepare to do something good in the life of someone who’s been hurt.
How can we be more conscious of what we say, that might hurt someone else?
“Sticks and stones may break our bones,” and careless words will always hurt us.
1. Think before you speak. Hard sometimes? Take time to think about what you are going to say.
2. Say unto others as you would want them to say unto you.
3. If in doubt of what the outcome would be if you say something, don’t say it.
Sticks and stones can not only be used to hurt someone, they can also be used to build something. We build a house out of wood and stones. If constructed correctly, it can be a beautiful home or building. With the right architect and contractor and a few other materials, we will have something that withstands the storms, rains, and winds.
It is the same with our words. We can use them to create something beautiful. We can speak a sentence into someone’s life that has the chance to change the course of their life. We can encourage and comfort with our words. We can build someone up and when the storms of life come their way, they might remember what we spoke into their life. Our love and encouragement spoken may give them strength to withstand any damage the storm could cause.
“Words kill, words give life;
they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.”
Proverbs 18:21 (MSG)
Have you ever been hurt by someone’s words? If so, just share the word “yes” in the comments and I will pray for you today. God knows the details.
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