Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

4 April 2008

Sticks and Stones

There was an interesting post at ThinkChristian.net the other day about Bible misquotations. Not conceptualization issues... flat out misquotes. These were some of the authors favorites that he heard while working at BibleGateway.com

“God helps those who help themselves”—yeah, this sentence mentions God and sounds vaguely Proverbs-ish, but this particular gem was imparted to the world by Ben Franklin, not Solomon or Jesus.

“Money is the root of all evil”—this one isn’t technically a misquote, but it’s missing a part of the sentence that radically changes the meaning. The full phrase is “The love of money is the root of all evil.” Three tiny words, one big difference in meaning!

“Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven”—I know this sounds like the sort of thing you’d find in the Bible, but it’s not. Should’ve paid attention in World Lit 101, people.

My personal favorite that I heard once while hosting a Christian call-in TV show was...

"sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me"

Not only is this not Biblical, but in fact, I think this may be the most inaccurate saying of all time! Throw sticks and stones at my bones all you want. But words can hurt even the most hardened of soul. They cut deep, last long, and eat at the core of what people think about themselves.

I talk a lot. Often too much.

I have said...
do say...
and will say stupid things that are offensive to others because as much as I try not to be... I'm a heaping mess of faulty humanity.

Proverbs 16:24
Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

I was a "Word Bully" growing up. I'm not proud of lots of the darkness I have inside me, but my compulsion to use hurtful words is right near the top of the heap. Often when I hear people speaking cutting words to someone (or to me), I sometimes think, "I could rip you down so much better than that. If I chose to, I could have you crying in the fetal position tonight, doubting your very value as a human. Do your homework if you're gonna play with the big boys!"

And I could.
I'm excellent at cutting people down. And I have to, sometimes physically (often via wife), stop myself from doing it when I let me emotions get the best of me.

Before I was a Christian, it got so bad that my clear, intentional reason for getting up that day, was to tear others down. I planned my words so that they would cut the most vulnerable areas of others lives. It was a sick-minded cover-up for the raging insecurity that I lived with. I've had to apologize to many a past friend for things I've said... and there some apologies still outstanding to come.

In fact one of my best friends in elementary school... the last time I saw him was the day I said some horrible things to his girlfriend at the time, she slapped me... they walked away.

As an adult with the gift of retrospect... I've identified that my youthful insecurity both CAME FROM and RESULTED IN "words". I didn't even have to go through the "sticks and stones" as I learned to use my words to alleviate physical situations. So scriptures like...

Ecclesiastes 5:2
Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.

... are both relieving and a struggle for me. I know the power of words, but I also know that they are possible to over. There is a passing fruitfulness about them.
Proverbs 18:4
The words of a man's mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook
It's sometimes why ME shutting up and being mindful of MY words is so valuable. What I have to say is limited by my "fleshiness". It could be smart, clever, funny, edifying, (or not), but it will always be of limited lasting value. And anything that I've learned about this is only because of MASSIVE failure. So I'll pull a Paul (2 Cor: 12)

"But about myself, I'm not saying another word apart from the humiliations.

If I had a mind to brag a little, I could probably do it without looking ridiculous, and I'd still be speaking plain truth all the way. But I'll spare you. I don't want anyone imagining me as anything other than the fool you'd encounter if you saw me on the street or heard me talk"

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