Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sticks and Stones...

I can remember when I was little saying the catchy saying, "sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me"
Man was that ever a lie. I am not sure who came up with that but they did not have much wisdom in how powerful the tongue is to others when used in the wrong way.
I can remember as a little boy being called stupid cause my grades were not what they needed to be. In fact I can still remember sitting at the kitchen table with my step dad doing homework. I couldn’t figure out my math homework and he only got more and more frustrated with me. The big problem with a step dad that was an alcoholic getting frustrated was the rage and physical abuse that followed the frustration. I can still remember the math problem in one instance. It was rounding up or down. When do we do this?
Funny how little things stick in our head huh? But here we were repeating our nightly routine of my step-dad "helping" me with my homework. 99% of the time it would end up resulting in me getting punched across the face and falling back into the plant that always sat behind our kitchen table.
I don't know what was more humiliating the fall or having to pick my dazed self back up and find my bearings again while stumbling everywhere.
As crazy as it may sound and as harmful as the physical abuse was from my step dad, it was the tongue and words that came from him that hurt more and had an even longer effect on me and my life. My step dad has since past on but his words have left many scars and even a huge hole in my heart and life.Proverbs 12:18-19 reads, "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."
For many years I allowed those feelings to be stuffed in my heart and ignored. It was not until I faced those words of being told how stupid I am or what a moron I am for not being able to figure out the math problem. I had dealt with the problems and effects that those old feelings had on me and believing truth versus the lies in my life. Celebrate Recovery was huge in helping me deal with this junk. I now know that I am His child, Jn 1:12, His friend, Jn 15:15 that I am complete in Christ, Col 2:10 and not stupid. Thank God that He makes all things new!!!Recently I began going back to school to further my education but had an algebra requirement to make up to be able to do this. It is through my recovery in Christ especially thru CR that I was able to face this daunting task. Now I know for some this may not have been a big deal but for me taking a math class at 40, to date was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. All the fears of not being able to do it and falling back to that little boy sitting at the kitchen table came rushing back. "Am I stupid? What if I fail and really am not able to do this? What if my step dad was right?" All very real questions came to my head. But then Christ began to speak to me. Telling me that I am His beloved son and that He did not give me a spirit of timidity or fear but of power, love, and a sound mind. (1 Tim 1:7)
I am so glad that I did not listen to the lies from the enemy and so glad to give God the glory for getting me thru that class with an A! Only God can do that. Either way things turned out though, it would have been fine. My identity is not based on how much I succeed or fail in life. Whew! That is good news huh?
The words that come from my mouth will impact people. I used to believe that I could say something sarcastic or even hurtful as long as I followed it up with a “I’m just kidding!” Wow! Was I ever wrong? James tells us in James 3:6 “The tongue is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole person course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.”Wow! The tongue is a powerful tool that can bring great destruction in someone’s life. Sarcasm is defined as “the tearing of the flesh”….now that puts a whole new perspective on things doesn’t it?
On the flip side, my words can build people up and bring great encouragement. I love the definition John Baker gives to encouragement, “oxygen to the soul” I need to remember Pro 12:19 and keep it in my heart as I address my brothers and sisters in the faith “…but the tongue of the wise brings healing”
I know what it feels like to be on the other side of the hurtful words or the damaging tongue. My prayer is that if I hurt someone with my harmful words, that I make amends immediately. I do pray however, that I will stop and think before I speak so that the damage is not done to begin within another’s heart due to my harmful words.
Thanks for letting me share.
Rodney
For more information about Celebrate Recovery, contact Rodney at 479-659-3679 or roholmstrom@fellowshipnwa.org

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