Sticks and Stones

As children we recited the popular idiom, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me”.

If only we could have gossip2remained in that state of unscathed innocence. Immature and uncontaminated we launched benign attacks with words like poo poo-head and stinky-feet.

Then we grew up and our naiveté was lost. The sweet youthful banter was replaced by malignant assaults of adult gossip, lies and slander. We learned that names do hurt.

As Christians we are called to submit our hearts, minds and souls to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. When in right relationship with Him, it is not difficult to keep our tongues from evil and our lips from speaking lies (Psalm 34:13). We ought to strive to reflect His character by getting rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander and dirty language (Colossians 3:8).

Then why do such things persist? According to the scriptures, the words that flow from a loose tongue are directly related to evil in the heart. “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).

The issue of slander has become a serious one for the church. Author John Armstrong  writes, “While Christians currently debate a host of ethical issues that are very important to the life and well-being of the church I fear that too few of us are willing to actually address a sin that destroys the work of the Spirit as fast, if not faster, than almost any other sin. I refer to the sin of slander”.

Truly the wounds from the battering of sticks and stones are more easily treated than the damage caused by a reckless tongue. Whether couched in prayer, whispered in conversation, or openly declared, slanderous words launch a vile attack on the character and well-being of an individual. As Christians we must do better.

George J. Carroll  wrote the following poem.

Those that slander you
with lies and deceit they say,
Show them mercy God

This is my prayer. May God teach us and show us mercy. Putting aside the sticks, stones and name-calling, as Christians we can do better.

James 1:26 NIV If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

Matthew 12:36-37 NIV But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.

1 John 1:9 NIV If we confess our sins he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 8/8/2010 5:36 PM

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