Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | September 12, 2011

Sticks and Stones

As someone who enjoys writing and speaking, I think about words and how to use them all the time. There is power in words. We all are familiar with the children’s rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” The truth of the matter is that words can hurt us — and sometimes hurt us a lot! Perhaps you have wounded others with malignant mutterings or felt the sting of someone else’s oral assault. What is it that can make our words nasty, unpleasant, and destructive? Is it the gestures that propel them? Is it the intensity with which they are delivered or the silence that sometimes follows their thunderous volley? Is it other words that serve as accomplices or the carnage that lies in their wake?

“The pen is mightier than the sword” is an old adage that reminds us of the power of words. Whether written or spoken, our words can either add further injury to someone who is already down or be a soothing and healing balm to someone who is bleeding. Because words have the power to destroy or to heal, we should always make it a point to think before we speak. Proverbs 16:24 states: “Pleasant words are a honeycomb: sweet to the taste and health to the body.” People — especially those who have been beaten down by life’s challenges, surprises, and setbacks — can benefit from words pleasantly orchestrated into symphonies of encouragement. The next time you come across someone who is hurting, discouraged, or despairing, consider how you can use words to promote healing and health by remembering the following simple suggestions.

• Do not be afraid to remain silent.

• Do not underestimate the healing value of your presence and silence.

• Do not say something when you have nothing to say.

• Do not try to explain what you do not understand.

• Do not criticize or judge.

• Do affirm your love and express your compassion.

• Do stay and care for others as long as necessary.

• Do listen more than you talk.

• Do understand your limitations.

• Do ask God to help you look beyond faults and shortcomings to the needs of others.

Finally, keep in mind the words of the Apostle Paul to the church at Ephesus (4:29): “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.”


  1. Thanks Omar for the thought provoking blog…….
    That child’s nursery rhyme is such a “lie”! Words do hurt and very badly. When I recall painful past events or memories, whether in my life or my family’s, it usually comes down to words that have cut like a knife and the wounds are so difficult to heal. God gave us one mouth and two ears for a reason……
    Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21 I’m trying to learn to be quick to forgive, because stuff happens and to meditate on these things – whatever things are true, whatever things [are] noble, whatever things [are] just, whatever things [are] pure, whatever things [are] lovely, whatever things [are] of good report, if [there is] any virtue and if [there is] anything praiseworthy~ Phil 4:8 …….” WORDS” to LIVE by!!

    • Thanks, Sheryl — it is indeed sobering to consider the power of our words.

  2. Very well “said” Bro Omar~ Thank you for sharing from your heart and insipiring the rest of us with your talent.

    To God be the glory!

  3. He Who cannot Quietly bear an Injury, will eventually be Conquered by it.

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