Sticks and Stones

Sticks and stones will break my bones
But words will never harm me.

This well-known ditty was first published in 1862 in the African Methodist Episcopal Church journal, The Christian Recorder. It’s purpose was to empower children in the face of name calling, to help them keep their good nature and resist retaliation. I’m not sure it’s used much anymore. Clearly the instances of name calling and bullying among teens has never been higher or more insidious.

But there are many ways that words hurt people, particularly in the life of the church. The temptation to be “right,” to put another person in their place, to use shame as a weapon, and, the ultimate abuse, to use the Word of God in ways that end up pushing people even further away from His love, mercy, and peace—each one of these distortions of language and meaning ends up hurting not only the individual in a given moment but the whole Body of believers for as long as we live out our faith in this life.

When the words of Scripture are used correctly—with no other intention than to bring comfort to a troubled soul and magnify the light of Christ—they will always lead to healing and wholeness.

They will always lead a person Home.

This is one of the most important reasons to read Loaded Words. To make sure you know the true meaning of some of these words—sin, repent, confess, Hell, submit—that are commonly used to hurt people. To be an ambassador for proper use and understanding, so that those who stand outside of Jesus’s love may be drawn in by his very essence, the Word. So that we can break the cycle of using biblical language to break people’s hearts or keep differing cultural groups at arm’s length.

Sticks and stones will break your bones but the Word of God will never harm you. Loaded Words is a safe place to learn and grow in your understanding of God’s eternal truths. May it be, in some small way, a blessing to the 21st century conversation.

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