Watch the Words You Say!

Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God. Ps. 50:23.

There is an old saying I learned while growing up in rural Jamaica: “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but the words you say will not hurt me.” We would use this phrase to those with whom we’ve had a conflict, “assuring” them in a proud manner that whatever they said to us would have no impact on us whatsoever. Using this phrase would, in a strange way, give us comfort and confidence when we had occasions to confront our foes. But oddly enough, as I grew and matured and had time to reflect on those childhood experiences, I’ve come to the conclusion that though sticks and stones can break my bones if the right force is applied, the words we speak can also have far-reaching effects.

James 3:5-10 says, “The tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing” (NKJV). Wow! We know that broken bones can be mended, and the younger you are the faster the healing takes place. But the words we speak can make, or break, a person.

A story is told of a horse that fell into a large hole and couldn’t get out. So the owner of the horse decided to bury him there. He called his neighbors, and together they started throwing dirt into the hole to bury the horse. But after a few hours the horse leaped from the hole and was free. How did he get his freedom? Every time they threw dirt on him he shook it off and stood on it. Little by little, he lifted himself out.

What must we do when hurtful situations arise? Shake them off! Remember, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Phil. 4: 12). Every time I’ve called on Jesus He has seen me through. I haven’t always behaved myself as I should—sometimes I took matters in my own hands, which ended in disaster. But even then, when I repented and called on Him, He rescued me. The God we serve is a never-failing God; He’s always on time to rescue us from all our foes. So let’s take Psalm 50:23 as our source of strength and offer praise to God. Let’s order our conversation aright, and He will show us His salvation.

Thamer Cassandra Smikle

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