Many years ago when I was at primary school, I was taught that ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.’ The first part is true, but the second part is not true. For words can hurt – often leaving lasting scars. Who amongst us can’t recall hurtful words that had been directed at us? Some people are able to recall hurtful words delivered to them over 30 years ago. The book of Proverbs in the Old Testament says that words have the power of life and also the power of death. Words that bring life encourage us, inspire us, motivate us and energise us. I have seen how a brilliant speech can inspire a team motivating them to go beyond where they thought they could go. I have also seen how critical and thoughtless words can drain a person of life and motivation.
I read recently this phrase: ‘Words for the wind’. The writer made the point that hurtful, untrue and destructive words are fit only for the wind – let them fly away, never to unsettle or condemn again. What a powerful image. Sometimes we give too much emotional energy to words that are untrue; let the wind carry them away.
May our words be chosen with care to build up and not tear down and should we be on the receiving end of hurtful and untrue words, give them to the wind – a hurricane maybe – never to return to rob us of peace
Senior School Chaplain