The person who coined the phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” in my opinion, could not be MORE WRONG! Words have the power of life and death. In Proverbs 18 it teaches, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” Once words spill out of our mouths they can never be taken back.
Over the last 2 years I have been encouraged by a strong Christian counselor to examine and seek to apply James 1:19, “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” Seeking wise counsel from a Christian counselor on dealing with the words of others that, at times have hurt me so deeply and, at times, have taken me to very dark places, has caused me to look into the mirror and examine my own words. It has stopped me dead in my tracks and made me ask myself, “Have I ever killed anyone with my words?” Steve, the Christian counselor, has helped me examine anger and recognize it as a very strong emotion that can be used to give us courage to stand up against wrongs, but it can often drive us to say and do things in the moment that we can regret forever. It has caused me to become diligent in seeking to “guard my heart because everything I do and say comes from it!” I am for sure a “work in progress!”
I am literally disheartened and pray daily over the attacks people are enduring, especially from the media. The power of the media to spin people’s comments and stories to incite others is outraging to me.
The most recent example is what has been happening to Paula Deen! I don’t know Paula and, quite honestly, I don’t watch very much TV so I cannot say I am a fan. I have friends who are fans and they have benefited from her gift of hospitality and teaching. In Proverbs 20:9-10 it says, “Who can say, ‘I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin?’ Differing weights and differing measures—the Lord detests them both.” Of course she was wrong in her comment and the echoing of her words will never go away, and for sure people were hurt. Her honesty and remorse are evident and for that she is being condemned. It would be different if her comments from years ago were still a reflection of her today, but there is little evidence of that. Of course God judges the motives of the heart, but at least she humbled herself and was honest and apologetic.
It seems to me there is a modern day crucifixion for honesty by our press, thus, it discourages honesty in our society. We all sin and fall short of the glory of the Lord. I have often said things that I regret. I am praying daily that people will know Christ in an intimate way so that, not in their own power, but by the power God gives through the Holy Spirit, they can enjoy the fruitful life that He created for each and every one of us to experience. Leading a life of significance is intentional and, honestly, can only be achieved with a growing personal relationship with Jesus.