“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.”
Few phrases have been spoken more often and yet are so erroneous.
Words are certainly the weapon of choice for many, especially on the internet. And they hurt. And sometimes words can kill.
In 2000, Charity, a recent graduate of our local high school met some guys at a local mall. For reasons that defy common sense, she got to talking about her rich ex-boyfriend and how she was able to get around the home’s security system. Why was she telling these guys she just met all this? How does this come up in casual conversation? Was she bragging? Was she trying to appear tough? Regardless, the guys indicated they wanted to rob the place. She told these guys the family’s and the maid’s schedules and provided a layout of the property.
A few days later, she called her dad to ask him to pick her up from work. He told her to be careful because he had just heard on the news that there had been a triple murder near her workplace. According to court papers she “went into hysterics” and told a coworker she may be at fault. She was eventually found guilty of accessory to murder and sentenced to 165 years in prison. (She was released 4 and 1/2 years later, but that’s another story.)
In Proverbs 18, like the chapters before and after, we see that our words are powerful. Verse 21 states that “the tongue has the power of life and death.” Charity’s words brought death. I don’t know if she ever read Proverbs 18:5-7, but she certainly has lived them. Her words were partial to the wicked, denied the innocent justice, and then were a snare that trapped her, brought her strife, and invited a “beating” of sorts.
If you are reading the FUEL posts, I am confident that you are wise enough to guard your words. And I doubt any of you would ever say something to purposely lead to the death of another. I don’t even think you would purposely say anything to hurt anyone physically or emotionally. Continue to be mindful of your words.
Verse 21 also says that we will eat of the fruit of our words or receive the consequences of our words. If you are working on developing the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) those fruits/consequences will be soft and safe, rather than sticks and stones.