Dealing with Words that Hurt | Brother Jim O'Connor, Oak Grove Church of Christ

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

These words have been used many times by those being abused by name-callers and accusers as a defense against the hurt which accompanies such. The sad thing is it really doesn’t help. It hurts to be the subject of the cruelty of thoughtless people, no matter how many of these jingles and rhymes one might recite.

However, there is a way to deal with the hurt which will soften the pain some, or, at least help one to endure it. Permit me to suggest the following:

1) Consider that the name-caller has a problem and pity him.

2) Add this person to your prayer list. Jesus said;

“Pray for them that despitefully use you.” – Matthew 5:44.

3) Remember that Jesus was also the victim of name-calling, “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ (Luke 7:34). This makes him qualified to understand the hurt you suffer.

Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:14-16).

4) Remember that calling someone something doesn’t make it so. Those who take name-callers seriously demonstrate that they have more confidence in the judgment of the name-caller than they do in themselves.

5) Don’t sink to their level by retaliating or by taking your hurt out on someone else. Take a lesson from your own hurt and refrain from inflicting the same hurt on others.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” – Proverbs 18:21

Words can cut very deeply, and scar a relationship severely; especially those words spoken unkindly in making fun of another human being. Let’s be sure our words are uplifting and strengthening in nature, or keep silent .

-Jim O'Connor
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