Whether or not we’ve said it or believe it, we’ve all heard the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me”, right? Now, I can’t argue with the first part, but it’s the second part I’m having a problem with. “…but words can never hurt me”. Is this true? Sometimes we like to say to ourselves, “They can say whatever they want. I don’t care. It doesn’t a difference.” But it does. Our feelings are hurt all the time by words. If someone told you you were ugly, every time you looked in the mirror after that, would you wonder if they were right, and begin to doubt the way God made you? Or if someone continually told you you were horrible at football, would you want to play? And even if you did, you would probably always feel like you’re doing a bad job, wouldn’t you?
That’s just one way words have power. They also have the ability to lift up, to support, to encourage. If your friend is chosen to star in a play, but is really nervous and considering backing out, what do you do? Do you say, “You’re absolutely right. You wouldn’t do well at all,” or do you be an encouragement and say, “Don’t back out! I know you can do this; you’ll do great!” Although it’s hardly an effort to say those few words, they would be an incredible encouragement to your friend. If you’re reluctant to use the power of your words to help and encourage others, think of it this way: wouldn’t you prefer it if your friends encouraged you when the time came instead of bringing you down? Don’t forget, “Do to others as you would have them do to you”!
So, when you get the chance, will you build up or tear down? Set a good example for those around you, and soon, the favor will be returned as they follow your example.