“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Who’s brain child was that? It doesn’t matter because if words didn’t matter then I wouldn’t be typing this.
Words entertain, give life, death and change the course of a person’s life. They can maintain a course a person is on. They can produce thoughts that make a difference between someone quitting or never giving up. Words crafted enough into a book can make someone very rich. Words can get someone killed. Words can start a relationship, but they can also end a relationship. I can go for an extended period of time without writing one word at Beyond Sad, but when I return to share my words I’m always glad I did because words are extremely therapeutic. Conversations with my brothers are life giving. Listening to Jason’s podcast reminds me what I already knew, but it draws me nearer to Jason for the hard work behind those podcasts. A simple text from another human being can make my day, and Proverbs informs us that an aptly placed word is like apples in settings of gold.
Look at what Hitler’s words did. Look at what Mother Teresa’s words did. Need I mention Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., Billy Graham and the Tweets we read daily? We long for words that change us from the inside out. The most important words I read are in the Bible. I’ve been a Christian for 38 years, and the Bible continues to produce wonder in my mind and heart. It’s given Jesus Freak’s the power to lay down their lives as martyrs. It caused Saul to stop murdering Christians in the first century when Jesus came to him on the Damascus road. He became Paul because Jesus changed his name and mission in life. Don’t tell me Paul’s words haven’t changed you if you call Jesus LORD.
When words form beautiful fiction and non-fiction are written libraries are constructed to house those countless stories and lessons we learn from those who have passed away. The written word allowed us to be more accurate with the spoken word because as humans our memory is far from perfect. God’s memory is not, and so he made sure to document through man the message he wants to give to humanity even though many accuse the Bible of being outdated and unable to address us in the 21st century. Then why are there more martyrs today than there were in the 1st century? Nothing can silence the hope giving message found in the Bible. They have never recovered Jesus body. The Apostles did not steal it. He rose on the third day, and when he reveals himself again those who did not reject him will spend eternity with him. That puts goosebumps on my arms writing about it. Nothing can separate us from his love. Life, death, poverty, affluence, sin or parental injunctions cannot separate us from him. Our children may reject him and us, but he never will. Our wives and husbands may reject us, but Jesus has sent his Spirit to dwell deeply within us when every human being rejects us. He transcends death. His angels guard us in our last moments on Earth, and the first to be raised on the last day will be those in the graves. Angels will surround us all as we ascend into the sky. All pain, disease and conflict will be wiped away, and the only words we will hear will be transposed into music as praise to a Father who conquered death through his son.
Words are powerful indeed. Sticks and stones can make us martyrs, but words can soften hearts that drop sticks and stones to embrace those they used to hate.