Sticks and Stones
By Lisa Lakey
“Of course you did.”
The words slid between my slippery lips before I could stop them. And I saw the subtle change in my husband’s look as I wished I could retract those four small words.
But I couldn’t. And let’s be real. It wasn’t the first time (maybe that week even).
That whole “sticks and stones” rhyme from childhood doesn’t work in the adult world. Words, indeed, can hurt us.
That day, my husband had made a small confession to an action he had done without much thought. But it added more work on my swelling to-do list.
But what I did was worse. Because mine wasn’t an accident. It was intentional.
He made a confession; I placed a judgment. Yet it wasn’t on what he did as much as on his character.
Because there’s always the implied we don’t say. Of course you did. That’s who you are.
I’m reminded of the story of the woman caught in adultery. In John 8, the Pharisees were ready to stone her for her sins. But Jesus steps in and says, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone,” (verse 7). Crickets.
As one by one they walk away, He tells her, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more,” (verse 11).
Sticks and stones cause serious damage. So do words. I don’t want to cast verbal stones at my spouse.
The good stuff: A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. (Proverbs 15:4)
Action points: Do you have a not-so-gentle way with words? Pray and ask God for help in how you speak to your spouse. If you need an extra reminder, write “Speak kindly” on sticky notes and place around the house, in the car, etc.
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