Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me!
As a child growing up in the 60’s this was a mantra used when kids would, well be kids. We didn’t call it “Bullying” then even though we knew who the bully’s were. We knew how to avoid them and we knew how to deal with them. But weather you ran from a bully or stood up to one, we always said that “names will never hurt us.”
Truth be told, they did hurt. Even more than the cuts, bruises or broken bones that may have been caused by sticks and stones. That’s because words, and name-calling, have power. Maybe even more then we can know.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat it’s fruit Pr. 18:21 NKJV
Death and Life! Really?!
Yes. Words really do have that much of an effect, both on us and those whom we speak to. What would you give in order to have someone speak positively to you? How much would it mean to you to have your father speak to you about your future?
Two brothers were born into a family. The firstborn son was in line to inherit from the father. The second son wanted his brothers inheritance. Desperately! So much so that he tried to take advantage of his older brother in a moment of weakness and trade him for it. The older brother half-heartedly agreed to the trade not thinking anything of it. Still not sure that he obtained the inheritance, the younger son impersonated the older brother and stood before his near blind and dying father to get the coveted gift. He did indeed receive the fortune.
Here it is –
“Surely, the smell of my son
Is like the smell of a field
Which the Lord has blessed.
Therefore may God give you
Of the dew of heaven,
Of the fatness of the earth,
And plenty of grain and wine.
Let peoples serve you,
And nations bow down to you.
Be master over your brethren,
And let your mother’s sons bow down to you.
Cursed be everyone who curses you,
And blessed be those who bless you!”
Yup! That’s it! The coveted inheritance that Jacob tried to steal from his brother and deceived his own father, Isaac, for was a blessing – words. Words spoken over him by the man in authority over him that he allowed into his heart. Words that sealed his future and set the course of his destiny.
If only we were not so advanced a civilization and would remember these lessons from the Old Testament. The lesson that a father or a mother or a teacher or any authority figure, real or perceived, can speak into the heart of a child and shape their future. Like it or not. Believe it or not. Words are that powerful.
Romans 10:9-10 tells us how powerful our words are –
that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those that love it will eat it’s fruit. Proverbs 18:21 NKJV
What does that mean? It means that your words affect your life. Whatever you have, or don’t have in your life today is a result of yesterday’s speech. How can our speech have such a significant impact on the reality of our circumstance? Because it’s a reflection of ourselves brought about by our own creative ability working in conjunction with one of the forces around us. God or evil.
For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks Luke 6:45 NKJV
that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved Romans 10:9 NKJV
For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Mark 11:23 NKJV
So, here we have examples of how powerful what we think/believe and say has on our lives. Luke, Paul and Jesus all showed us how important it is to “guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life” Proverbs 4:23 HCSB
Isaac blessed Jacob and Jacob believed in his heart that those things would come true. I’m sure he even told people that they would come true. God told Abraham that he would be the father of many nations in spite of his old age. God even changed his name from Abram to Abraham which means “father of many” so when ever he told someone his name he was saying “Hi, I’m a father of many!” Imagine that! It is recorded that “Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” He was “in-right-standing” with God because he believed what God said to him about being the Father of many nations.
He believed it and spoke it and it came to pass. He co-operated with God in the creative process and it came to pass.
There’s examples of how unbelief and doubt stopped or could have stopped the hand of God. Yes, it’s true – when the angel came to Zacharias to tell him that he would have a son in spite of his obvious age he doubted and questioned it’s possibility.
And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.” Luke 1:19-20 NKJV
Shutting Zacharias up did not change his heart but it stopped him from speaking against the plan of God. Once the child was born his mouth was opened and his heart was changed. God’s will was done.
Likewise, even Jesus was unable to perform many miracles in His hometown because they did not believe He could.
He went to His hometown and began to teach them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “How did this wisdom and these miracles come to Him? Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t His mother called Mary, and His brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, aren’t they all with us? So where does He get all these things?” And they were offended by Him.
But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his household.” And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief. Matthew 13:54-58 NKJV
Imagine that! And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief!! They tied the hands of God!
If only God would shut our mouths sometimes so that we do not tie His hands with our doubt filled words and unbelief. What do you believe about yourself? Your life? Your God? Your Savior? Search your heart or better yet, look around you? Do you have a medicine cabinet full of drugs? Do you stress out over your checkbook balance? Do you shake your head at the promises of God found in His Word because you don’t think they apply to you? Just how far does your faith in Jesus go? How much do you believe? Does your words agree with His?
He loves you and died for you and has a future and a hope for you not just to live this life but to have it more abundantly. But you have to believe. The Word of God tells us that God Himself asks us to remind Him of His promises!
I, even I am He that blotted out thy transgressions for Mine Own sake and will not remember thy sins. Put Me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified. Isaiah 43:25-26 KJV
Trust in Him Who died for thee and shed His blood to set you free. Be blessed, Al
*This post is dedicated to the memory of one of the gentlest, most compassionate and humorous men of God that I have ever known. While at The Word Of Life Ministries in Freeport, NY I had the pleasure of knowing Brother James Orr who lived from January 12, 1934 – until he went home to be with the Lord on February 21, 2001. Along with his love of God and His Word, Brother James had an infectious smile, and a answer for “Hey, Brother, how are you?” “How am I doing?!? Is that the question? Why I’m blessed and highly favored! I am a child of the Most High God! I’m a child of the King! How am I doing!!!”
I laugh at the memory of how many times he stopped me to answer that question – which, I asked in passing as easy as saying “Hi”
Brother James Orr understood the power of the tongue and I will always remember that lesson he taught me.