Wed | Dec 7, 2022

Words Can Harm!

Published:Thursday | October 22, 2015 | 12:00 AMEmmette Weir

Your Morning Meditation

Most of the proverbs, pithy sayings, aphorisms, and helpful hints, tried and tested in the anvil of human experience, (many of which have come down to us in Jamaica) are, indeed, gems of wisdom providing sound principles to guide us in our daily living. Some, however, are not so wise.

Take for instance the saying, usually attributed to school boys involved in a 'war of words:

"Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never harm me!"

Now, the first part of this statement is true. Yes, sticks and stones really can inflict great physical injury upon someone. It is the second part, however, which must seriously be called into question, "But words can never harm me!"

For when we think carefully about it, we realise that words can, indeed, harm us. Innuendoes, rumours spread about us, can indeed harm us. Such words can damage one's reputation and if allowed to go unchallenged, can even warp one's character.


As a matter of fact, words can inflict greater injury in the long run, than sticks and stones. For, whereas the bruises inflicted by physical blows will, in most cases, soon be healed and even disappear, the psychological damage caused by unkind words and uncaring statements may cause long-lasting, even permanent, injury to one's character.

As one who has spent many years in education, I am deeply conscious of the great damage that can be inflicted upon young people by unkind words spoken by friends, parents, and even teachers. Is it not the case that the reason so many of our young men are falling between the cracks is that negative words are spoken to them by those who should know better?

Expressions such as 'lazy', 'no good', 'you'll never amount to anything' etc.

This is precisely why the Bible calls upon us to be very careful in the use of words, always seeking to choose words that are helpful rather than harmful!

Here are just a few:

"He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life; but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction" Proverbs 13:3.

"A soft answer turneth away wrath; the tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright; but of fool poureth out foolishness" Proverbs 14:1-2.

"A good word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pitcher of silver". Proverbs 25:11.

These verses, all taken from the book of Proverbs, remind us of the utter importance of choosing the right words, but it is the epistle of James, which has the most solemn warning:

"If any man among you seem to be religious, but bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain." James 1:26.

"Words can never harm me?"

Nothing can be farther from the truth.

Thought: Be very careful with the words you use, especially when angry.

Make sure that the words you use are short and sweet and delicious as you may have to eat them.

Thought for the day: (Prayer) Lord teach me to choose and use words wisely and my friend continue to walk in the light.

Prayer: Lord, grant me the wisdom to choose and use words carefully and cheerfully through Christ I pray, Amen.