Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Have you ever said something you wished you could take back? I read a story once that compared words to dandelion seeds. Once they've scattered to the wind, it's impossible to gather them back up.
The Bible has a lot to say about the power of words. Yesterday I read some sobering verses in Proverbs 26. "For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down. Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife."
We're dealing with this problem in our church right now. A few complainers have taken it upon themselves to "whisper" about the things they don't like, and the result is a bunch of disgruntled people. I can't imagine such petty nonsense in countries where believers are persecuted for their faith, but we're in good ol' God-Bless-America. Here in the U.S. of A. we're comfy and we don't like it if the sermon stomps on our perfectly pedicured toes. Isn't the preacher supposed to make us feel good about ourselves? Isn't the worship music supposed to be as exciting as a rock concert? Doesn't God exist to satisfy our every selfish whim?
Um, no. To all of the above.
I'm pretty disgusted by whisperers right now. But I can't really point the finger, because I'm guilty, too. How many times have I made some sarcastic crack to get a laugh, then seen the pain in the eyes of the person at whose expense I made the joke? It's too late then. The dandelion seeds have scattered, and I can't gather them back up.
When I was little my mom taught me the classic comeback: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me." I know Mom meant well, but that phrase is simply not true. Broken bones can be set and mended. Broken hearts sometimes never completely heal.
So, I think we should rewrite the old phrase and use it to remind ourselves that words DO hurt. Your mission, readers of GG&TGL, is to come up with a better saying and post it in the comments. Then maybe we can all pick our favorite and teach it to our children, and someday--instead of the weedy dandelions of cruel words--the world will be filled with fields of fragrant flowers.
I look forward to reading your ideas!