Saturday, June 5, 2010
Sticks and Stones
But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.” And he said, “Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. Matthew 15:15-18
"Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me!" If there was ever a more untrue rhyme, reiterated endlessly across school yards, it is this one. Not true, not true at all. What people say does hurt, and names stick like glue and sometimes never go away. A reputation can be ruined with a word. Children can be teased so fiercely and cruelly by others that they believe what they hear and some even take their own lives. Name calling is very destructive and excludes many from trying to better themselves and participate in society. Rumors about good people can sully their honest reputation and keep them from being hired, elected, and honored for the person they are. Yes, what we say can defile others.
What I didn't see and hear until today, was how what we say defiles us. Really when we say something unkind about another, it is really more a blemish on us then on them. We soil ourselves in the attempt to ruin another. The religious watch dogs of the day wanted Jesus and his disciples to eat by the rules, the same religious restrictions and rules they tarnished and abolished by their own cruelty and unkindness. When the **** hits the fan, not only the target get a face full of it.
Today, I want to remember that if my heart is to be loving and kind then my words are to be also. If my life is to be faithful, I must reserve judgment and follow God, rather than criticize others. I pray that my heart can be open enough to reform, and ready to forgive as to be forgiven. May we all be ready to cease judgment and criticism and offer kindness from our hearts this day.