September 25, 2020

Proverbs 12:18

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,

but the tongue of the wise brings healing.


During our current “Sticks & Stones” sermon series, we’ve talked a lot about the destructive power potential of our words. Today’s proverb compares rashly spoken words to a “sword thrust”. Yikes! I have no personal experience with sword thrusts (thankfully), but I do know sword thrusts can wound, and sword thrusts can kill. No matter what the well-known children’s poem says, it is indeed a lie that “…words can never hurt me”.

But our words can also be sources of great joy and great life! Think about your own experience – positive words of encouragement or affirmation are almost always some of our fondest memories. For most of us, words of life spoken to us in difficult moments or seasons were like literal life preservers thrown to us when we were drowning.

I still clearly remember my last day of first grade. We held a hat contest, and mom sewed four Beatles cake topping figures on the brim of my hat (yes, I’m that old, this was the late 1960’s). Before the procession, one of the adults running the contest stopped in front of me, looked down at my hat with utter disdain, shook his head and walked on. He never said a word, but he didn’t need to – his expression and actions said it all. My tender six-year-old heart was crushed. 

I walked listlessly across the schoolyard when they called my name. And then the most amazing, wonderful thing happened! A woman I’d never seen before ran up to me, squatted to my level, looked me in the eye and with a huge smile exclaimed, “I love your hat! That’s really great! I just love your hat!” She brightly smiled at me again before walking away. 

It’s hard to fully describe how that moment felt. Her words were like cool, abundant waters spilling wildly free, flooding recklessly over my parched and dying soul. 

I still get teary-eyed thinking of that day. How did she know what I needed? I have no idea. I just thank God she brought me the words of healing my wounded soul desperately needed to hear.

Do you understand your words can actually lift the spirits of others from despair and sadness? Your words have immense power and potential, even spoken to a young child! What words of encouragement and life could you bring to those you will encounter today?

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