Friday, April 25, 2008

Sticks and Stones...

...may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

It was 2nd grade in a new school. A group of us were thinking of animal names for each other that started with the same letter as our first. Brandon was a bear. Eric was an eagle. Phil... pig! Everybody found it funny, laughing and repeating it. Everybody except me. I was angry.

"I am not a pig!" I retorted, desperately looking for a different name. They didn't seem to notice I didn't like the name. In fact, the more strongly I insisted on not being called pig, the more they laughed and repeated it. "Pig" was an arrow to my soul, the laughter driving the arrow deep.

Dad was cooking spaghetti sauce as I told him the story. I didin't know what to do. Nobody had hurt me with name calling before and everything I tried only brought more. "Just remember, sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Just because they say it, doesn't make it true."

I went away feeling defeated. The word picture was clear enough. My bones weren't broken, but my heart was wounded. Apparently, Dad didn't have a fix for that.

Last night, I was lamenting again hurtful things people had said. "Why are people so hurtful with the things they say?" I asked God. The theater of my mind was replaying samples of people lashing out with words like trapped, wounded animals. Lashing out at people who were different. Different in their political views. In views of God. Different in opinion.

As the movie in my mind continued, I realized I have been that trapped, wounded animal. I have lashed out at people I love, trying to protect my wounded soul from them. Words come out with no thought for what they mean or how they will be received. I laugh to words that wound someone's soul. Is the wounding funny? No, but I haven't stopped to think if what's been said is hurtful.

The movie in my mind came to end end. I sit in silence, pondering what I've just seen. Today, I am choosing to end hurtful, negative talk in my life. I want to build people up, not tear them down.

"May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer." Psalm 19:14 NLT


Debbie Conley said...

Such a great word. I've always thought I'd rather be hit than brow beaten. I've done my share of brow beating in the past. I too have given it to God. "Beloved, let us love one another..."
1 John 4:7,8
Blessings, Debbie C

created2bless said...

Thank you, Phil. This article on sticks and stones has truly brought tears to my eyes and conviction to my soul. I am so guilty of lashing out verbally to protect my wounded heart. What I must do is allow God to heal my heart so that I may speak with love and tenderness specifically to my husband. He wants to send me to Arizona to give us time away. I almost hesitate to say I can't with my dog business here in Oregon. I came to Oregon in default to move with my husband. Although it truly feels like God's country, my heart never left my dying mother and my sister's family in Phoenix, AZ over twelve years ago. I have been angry with him since the moment we crossed the border. Please pray I am able and willing to lay this at the alter and walk away free of a wounded heart. My husband deserves kind words as we both know words do harm like no other.

Blessing your every endeavor~
Denise WWJD <><

Phillip Lemons said...


I'm honored by your sharing. I will be praying for you and your husband. It must be hard to leave loved ones behind. I believe you're on the right track in looking to God to heal your wounded heart. That's His business, after all.

Keep on looking up,

Roy M Pace said...

Phil: Nice job on the blog. My only regret in the writer's class is that I didn't take more time to get to know everyone more. This will be a great way to keep in touch. Also, the little thumbnail photos in each post are cool! I will have to ask you how you did that.

Taylor said...

wow yeah. We all often don't realize the power of spoken words. We can build someone up or brutally rip them to pieces with a single sentence.

Great work Phil.
from Taylor

ps. You should DEFINITELY write more!

Bill W. said...

Phillip, you need to only look at your own actions to realize that you are not motivated by the love of God but your own feelings of inadequacy from your youth. And you know, sometimes actions DO hurt more than words. As an example, your passive-aggressive campaign against committed couples looking to live in a stable loving relationship. Please, have all the opinions and views you want, embrace the Word of God in your daily life but try not to take your anger out on others in a veiled attempt to spread the Word. Probably much later in your life you will finally realize the error of your ways but until then thousands of Oregon children of same-sex couples will suffer under your campaign of anger.
God bless you.

Sandy Cathcart said...

Wow! Been a long time. Missing you Phil.

Phillip Lemons said...

Although a few years have passed, I feel Bill's comment deserves a response. The campaign of hate Bill referred to is a case titled Lemons v. Bradbury which can be found with a web search if you are interested in the details.

I would like to think that people can understand that I can believe a certain action is wrong, or as the Bible says, sinful, without hating people who partake in the action. Bill, more than anything, I want to share the love I've discovered in God and how seeing that my heart was fighting against His heart has transformed my life and can do so for anyone else who wants this. Pursuing a relationship with God is the first most important thing in life, regardless of a person's sexual lifestyle. I hope this helps.


Phillip Lemons said...

My apologies, Bill said campaign of anger, not hate.

God love you, Bill