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Topic: Insulted (11/01/04)
TITLE: Sticks and Stones...
By Betty Shattuck
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"Skinny bones, Jones!"
"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me," I shrieked in a singsong tone of voice.
What child hasn't responded in this manner sometime in their life? But it's a lie! Insults and teasing does hurt!! It hurts emotionally and may leave deep, intense psychological and even spiritual scars. In fact, angry and hurtful words can ruin lives.
When I was a child I was certainly aware that I was awkward and skinny as a rail and didn't need anyone else reminding me of it. My sister had some meat on her. I teased her about how her legs jiggled while we sat in the back seat together on a car trip - I was just jealous that my legs didn't have enough meat on them to jiggle. Bones don't jiggle! Now I have more jiggles than I ever thought I would have!
Typically people attack others verbally because of their own insecurities. But we don't understand this as children. In fact, even as adults, we most often react and strike back instead of comprehending this.
When I think of Christ's suffering and his loving reaction, I am humbled. Christ endured a multitude of insults! How they hurt him-he who was without sin. They cursed him, spat on him, battered him unmercifully and abused him in multitude ways. He then died for their sins on the Cross of Calvary! He continues to love those who are hurting him even today with their unbelief, contemptuous remarks and using his name in a mocking manner. No matter how bad I feel about what people say to me, nothing compares with the treatment Jesus suffered and still suffers.
James wrote about our tongues in James 3:2-12. Countless manner of destruction occurs because of our hurtful tongues. But what can we do to control our tongue that's more effective than just biting it and counting to ten? And what do we do to stop the hurt when someone insults us?
We choose! We choose to forgive those who have hurt us. If Jesus can forgive me, I can forgive others through Christ's strength. We choose to lift up-not tear down. We choose to put on the full armor of God. We choose to fill our thoughts with positive, loving thoughts.
By the way, my sister and I have long forgiven each other for our hurtful words and love, respect and appreciate each other. Now if only I can always remember to choose instead of react-forgive instead of allowing hateful words to hurt. Please God, remind me to pray for your blessings to those who are harsh instead of trying to hurt them back. And above all, help me to choose to love because love covers a multitude of sins.
"If anyone can control his tongue, it proves that he has perfect control over himself in every other way...the tongue is a flame of fire. It is full of wickedness, and poisons every part of the body. And the tongue is set on fire by hell itself, and can turn our whole lives into a blazing flame of destruction and disaster..."(James 3:2, 8b LB)