What Can Words Do?
by Jay Fadden
Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can break your heart! I changed the last line of that well-known phrase because the power of words can be devastating and hurt much longer than a physical aliment. In today’s society with Twitter and Facebook, we seem to have lost the ability to carry on a conversation. Many people are content with spewing hateful statements with no justification or thought of how they may adversely affect someone. We use words as a weapon, and that weapon is sharp and cuts deep.
What has happened to caring about others and lifting one’s spirits? The vitriol on comment pages is out of control on all sides. There seems to be no room for discussion. People are not listening to discern, but to respond. All this leads to tremendous hurt and anger. It permeates beyond the pages of new media and into the schools. Children are now using words to define people in a very belittling way.
Sadly, I have heard statements that were meant to inflict pain. I myself have used words to hurt, and I say that with the realization that I was wrong. Why are we so quick to be judgmental and so eager to hurt others with the sting of a word or phrase? We use humor that may be funny to some people, but extremely painful to the intended target. Be assured that not everyone is laughing at the joke. People are listening, and our words are resonating in many different ways. Take the time to ponder what you are saying. Know that a throwaway line for you may become a weight or burden that someone will carry. Your words may consume someone, depress them, and make them feel alone. The words can linger and manifest into something painful and become truly crippling.
But words can also be life changing. Like a smile, they can brighten a day and lift someone up. They can become a buoy in a turbulent sea. Jesus showed us how words lead to action and love. Make your words heal and bring joy and happiness. Use this phrase: Sticks and stone may break your bones, but words can truly heal you! Change the course of this newfound rhetoric and become a purveyor of happiness through words. Love one another and tell others how special they are in the world. We are all unique and beautiful in our own way and loved by God.