"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me." It's not true. Names do hurt and produce emotional scars that stay within the soul for life. A woman could not escape the bondage of a name her father gave her when she was a child: "The devil's daughter." She was freed from it eventually, but not without hours of counseling and struggle. Unkind words are like deadly missiles that penetrate all the soul's defenses and blast a hole in the personality that may take years to repair. On the other hand, words that are encouraging can lift and cheer the soul in a way that is quite amazing. C. E. Macartney tells how he saw sitting on a bench a minister whom he had known. The man was well advanced in years and broken in health. As a result of his condition, he had given up his church and was unable to participate in any kind of pulpit ministry. Macartney says, "I turned to speak to him, expecting to hear from him some word of melancholy, reminiscence or present gloom, but I received a pleasant surprise. He told me that a woman going by had just spoken to him and told him that a message he had given many years ago had been the means of bringing her to Christ. The glow on his face was something I shall never forget." How wonderful it will be if today you and I can say a cheerful and encouraging word to someone that will lift their burden, lighten their darkness and minister the life of God into their soul. At least let's try!
O Father, help me not to be like the person who looked into a mirror and then went away forgetting what he looked like. I have looked into the mirror of Your Word and see what I should be. Now help me be. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
For Further Study
1. What does James say about the tongue?
2. What had the Lord given Isaiah?