Sticks and Stones

by Elise

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” I seem to hear this phrase, or many variations of it often. But I started thinking, in my life, and in the lives of others how true this statement is. 

I’ve never encountered someone who wants to physically harm me. For instance, in school, nobody has ever tried to beat me up. But I have faced unkind words, both purposeful and unintentional. I have been the victim of hurtful words, and also the deliverer. I think we all have been on both ends of the spectrum and we need to be more aware of what we say to one another.

Whether you mean it or not, what you say affects others. No matter how confident a person may be, words get into their head and it brings them down. Trust me, I know. I tend to feel more confident about myself, but there are certain things that get to me, break a little bit of my confidence and make me feel less sure of who I am. 

The LDS For The Strength of Youth pamphlet counsels “Speak kindly and positively about others. Choose not to insult others or put them down, even in joking. Avoid gossip of any kind, and avoid speaking in anger. When you are tempted to say harsh or hurtful things, leave them unsaid.”

Whenever verbal contention arises in my home my mom starts singing a hymn. I’m not going to lie, it always kind of makes me want to roll my eyes, but as I’m thinking about this topic of harmful words this hymn is very applicable. The first verse says it all:

1. Let us oft speak kind words to each other
At home or where’er we may be;
Like the warblings of birds on the heather,
The tones will be welcome and free.
They’ll gladden the heart that’s repining,
Give courage and hope from above,
And where the dark clouds hide the shining,

Let in the bright sunlight of love.

Our words are very important and, therefore, we need to be aware of how our words can affect others. Sincere compliments and encouraging words are what we should be saying to and about others. We should use the power of words to build up rather than tear down. We need to remember that, as our example, Jesus Christ was kind to those who were thought to be undeserving. 

I love my Savior and I know that He is our example and we should try our hardest to be like Him. Christ was kind to those who were cast out, He gave worth to those who felt worthless. Let us be like Him, building each other up with our words and our actions. We are all children of God and everyone deserves to be treated as such, especially when it is the hardest to do so.

This article has 6 comments

  1. Kathy Reply

    Beautiful message. Thank you for reminding me how important it is to always use my words to encourage and lift.

  2. Kimberly Reply

    Thank you for the good reminder about the power of words. And I love your mom’s idea of singing a hymn!

  3. Marilyn B Reply

    Lest we forget. It is so easy to unintentionally hurt others with thoughtless words. Such a timely reminder. Thanks.

  4. Lee Reply

    Elise,
    This makes me think of a verse from a poem called “A Fool’s Prayer”

    The ill-timed truth we might have kept
    Who knows how sharp it pierced and stung
    The word we had not sense to say
    Who knows how grandly it had rung?

    I like how you brought out that we must not only avoid saying hurtful things, we should be free with uplifting and encouraging words.
    Thanks for posting this!

  5. Matt Newton Reply

    Thanks Elise. I needed this message tonight. I was thinking about a tough situation I need to address and this message gave me some great insights around how I need to think about it. Wonderful message! Thank you!

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