“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:
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.