Sticks and Stones…
Ever heard of the expression “to talk out of both sides of your mouth”? It means to say one thing to one person and another thing to another person about the same subject. So, for example, you might say “I love grapes” to one person and say “I hate grapes” to another person. So, which is true?
Today’s scripture verse speaks about praising on the one hand and cursing on the other. It is saying how can you praise God one moment and curse the next. It is like pouring pure clean water out of a jug, stopping, and then pouring dirty water out of the same jug the next time. It just doesn’t work that way, does it? What comes out is either dirty or clean.
Unfortunately, what comes out of our mouths is not always clean. That’s because our thoughts and feelings are not always pure and clean. We express our thoughts with our mouths, or as the Bible says, our tongues. Tongues can be dangerous things. Cursing, lying, gossip, and speaking unkindly to or about others are examples of the ways we can cause damage to others.
Another expression is “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” While it’s a response to harsh words; the truth is, words can and do have the ability to harm.
In Matthew 12:36-37, Jesus says,
“But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
We need to learn to control our mouths and that begins with directing our hearts and minds to those things that are good, right and true. The apostle Paul said it in this way,
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things”.
In the Disney movie Bambi, the little rabbit Thumper put it this way “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”
Ephesians 4:29 says it in another way,
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.”