Words Can Hurt
“Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.”” Mark 7:14-15 NIV
“Sticks & stone can break my bones but words can never hurt me!” Boy were they wrong! I heard this chant dozens of times growing up. It made sense. If someone hit you with a stick or a rock, you could be seriously hurt. Words, we thought, caused no permanent damage. I say again, BOY were we wrong!
We now know that words cause lasting damage. We heal from the physical wounds, not that anyone should ever resort to physical violence. The emotional & psychological wounds caused by harsh words leave wounds that may never heal.
Kids have always been harsh when it comes to words. They say hurtful things without thinking. They may apologize for their words but they may not be able to eliminate the pain or the memory. It was like this when I was a kid & it is still the same. Unfortunately, now it is even worse.
The anonymity & immediacy of the internet allow kids to hurl incredibly hurtful words at others. We have seen the tragic results when a child is brutally attacked with words online. Too many have been driven to harm themselves, even kill themselves. Kids need to learn that words have consequences. Words can cause permanent damage & drive others to take actions that create even deeper wounds.
Children must also understand they can’t hide behind the anonymity of the internet forever. People always find out who is behind hurtful words & these actions have a way of coming back on them. As Jesus says in the verse above, it is what comes out of a person’s mouth that defiles them. I also think it is what defines them. God does not approve of trash coming out of our mouths. As parents, we must watch over our words & we must remind our children that words leave lasting marks that scar both the receiver & the giver.