As little kids we were taught, Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
Wow! Who thought that one up? And who passed that rhyme along? There is absolutely no truth in it, yet it gets repeated continually.
We all know it’s a lie. Words do hurt. We have been hurt by words. Right now you are recalling some hurtful words that were said to you.
Perhaps you are also recalling words that you said. It’s too late to take them back. Yes, you wish you could. But once they come out there is no taking back.
Plus they are rarely forgotten. Sadly, some we take all the way to the grave.
Many are said due to anger. We allow anger to take over and we let the words fly. Later we apologize, but the damage is done.
In 2 Samuel 16:5-14 David has lost the throne and is on his way out of town. One of his enemies, Shimei, berates him. His criticism of David goes over the top. There are some relational issues going on as Shimei was from the tribe of Benjamin just like Saul. Saul is now dead, but Shimei is still loyal to Saul, not David.
Time moves on. In 1 Kings 2:8-10 David comes toward the end of his life and gives his son Solomon some final counsel. Here David recounts the hurtful words Shimei leveled against him years earlier.
Those words still hurt. David had not forgotten them.
He took those hurtful words all the way to the grave. That’s sad. Perhaps even in your own life, perhaps even in your marriage you have said some words that you can’t take back.
We have all said things we wish we hadn’t. It’s time to move on. From here on out you can do a couple of things.
1. Stop. You don’t have to immediately say what has come into your mind.
2. Think. Not everything has to be said. Some things are better left unsaid. That little zinger you want to let fly will add nothing to the relationship.
3. Multiply. Research suggests that one negative can undo twenty positives. Do you realize now the power of hurtful words?
4. Ask. Is it helpful? Will this help the situation or exasperate it? Am I saying this while I am still upset and angry?
5. Proceed. If it is helpful and you have control over your emotions you will do a much better job communicating.
Just remember, if you fail to do these things your words may very well hurt…all the way to the grave!