Words more powerful than sticks and stones

Published 11:45 pm Friday, April 11, 2014

We’ve heard many times that sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me. That’s as far from the truth as anything I’ve ever heard.  

I’m reminded of the following story I heard years ago:

There was a little boy with a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, to hammer a nail in the back fence.

The first day, the boy drove 37 nails into the fence. Then it gradually dwindled. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive nails into the fence.

Finally, the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it, and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, and I am proud of you. Now look at the holes in the fence. It will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there.”

Yet, we so easily verbally wound those around us. The tongue is such a small part of the body and yet so incredibly powerful for both good and bad. A verbal wound can hurt more than a physical wound. This is because the wrong words at the wrong time can ruin everything. At the same time, the right words at the right time can change everything.

I’m challenged to always consider the impact of my words in the coming days. I pray that I will say the right thing to encourage the people in my life.  


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