Today I wanted to share with you this lovely essay by my amazing friend Julia VanLandingham. She is a math and science nerd, but it seems she also has a bit of a penchant for essay writing as well. 🙂 Enjoy!
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” We’ve all heard this saying time and again. The truth is, though, words do hurt. Often times, words hurt people more than sticks and stones would have. Words can hurt the very core of a person, and while it may not be visible from the outside, the hurt can be devastating. Words often can continue to hurt someone for a long time after they have been said, as the person continues to think about them and play them over and over in their head. However, words are extremely important in our society today. Words can bring people together or tear people apart. Words can free people or incriminate them. Words and communication are everything. Without them, we would be lost.
Often we don’t think about what we are saying to people; we just say it. This can be good in some contexts, as it is good to be candid and honest. At other times, this can be extremely detrimental and can cause a lot of pain and trouble. We all have things we wish we never said, times we wish we could redo and think before we said anything. Unfortunately, you can’t take words back once you’ve said them. Something you say that was in the heat of the moment or that just doesn’t sound quite how you meant it to, can never be taken back. Sometimes it can lead to funny situations when something doesn’t sound quite right. However, more often than not, things that are said in the heat of the moment are hurtful and can break down relationships. Words are extremely powerful.
So, these words are important. These words can be very hurtful, but how are we supposed to trust ourselves to think before we speak? Should we just stop saying anything at all? The answer is no. If we were to seclude ourselves by doing such, nothing would ever get done. Communication is key. Some people feel as if technology is the most important thing in our society and in our educational system. However, all the technology in the world is useless without communication. This becomes very evident in the cast of scientists and mathematicians. They can have the most brilliant minds and find the most amazing solutions to problems, but if they cannot communicate their thoughts and ideas to others, the research is useless. We all need communication, we can’t just quit speaking for the rest of our lives.
So, if keeping quiet is not the answer, what in the world is? Can we do it by ourselves? Should we put in some system of friends and family to help us think about what we are saying? Well, yes and no. We all need to guard our own tongues and employ our friends and family to help us as well, but we can’t really truly do it all on our own. No matter how hard we try we will not be able to truly guard our mouth effectively, because we are sinful. The only way is to ask the Lord to help us. David says in Psalm 141 “Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.” We all need to ask for this, it is the only way we will ever be able to begin to stop saying hurtful things.
But, we’re all human and sinful; we will slip up, we will say hurtful things from time to time. What can we do then? Well, we have established that words can be very hurtful, but words can also heal a great many sorrows. Just a simply phrase such as “I love you” or “It will be okay” can change everything in a situation. One of the most powerful phrases that someone can employ when they have wronged someone else is “I am sorry”. It seems like a simple phrase, like just something that we were told to say when we were younger, but it is amazing what wrongs it can heal when said sincerely. On the flip side, the wrongdoer only wants to hear one other simple phrase, “I forgive you”. Another three words, but they are three of the most powerful words in the world. All someone wants to know when they are trying to make things right is that they are forgiven. So, next time you slip up, as you inevitably will, because we are all sinfully human, just remember that there are three simple words that can go a long way to making things right.
I hope you enjoyed this guest post! What do you think? In what other ways can we improve communication with each other? Let me know in the comments. 🙂