No matter which translation is used, the Bible is clear about how painful rumors or stories told with only part of the information dig deep into the innermost heart of the soul of the person being talked about.
When I was a young girl being picked on (for everything from my name, Polly Anna, to being short, to being bigger than the other girls, to wearing glasses, to just being different from everyone else), I was taught that rhyme many of us learned at a very young age: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."
Adults and others who are still teaching this rhyme and believing it, STOP LYING. I wasn't bothered when I learned who Santa and the Easter Bunny really were. I learned early on that those kinds of "lies" are all in good, clean, honest fun to help make the lives of children more magical. And I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to have had a very magical childhood.
But telling our children that words don't hurt is the biggest lie we could ever tell, teach, them. They learn very quickly that they'd much rather than sticks and stones thrown at them [sometimes] than they would the horrible words said by people they thought were their friends.....by people who just don't understand or care to understand what they're going through.
Can you relate? I'd be willing to bet that you can, more than you'd like to admit. I know I can.
The worst words, though, have come in my adult life from the very people I have trusted the most. Before I get into this, I have to say that before YOU read on, know that I'm going to get not only very personal, but I'm also going to say some more about my faith. Read the following at your own discretion.
Most of my examples that I am going to share with you come after we lost James Isaac in March of 1999. (Note that I am not counting the words said DURING the horrible experience--only after.):
* "You brought this on yourself by reaching up to turn on and off the lights in your home." (We had a pull string for all the lights in our house at the time.)
* "God will work all things together for our good." (The typical scripture from Romans that tends to be quoted at times of suffering and difficulty.)
* "God must have needed/wanted another angel." (Say what?!)
* "You can always have more." (What about THIS baby?!)
* "You have to get over this and move on."
And the list goes on. The last one was said by a dear, precious, highly respected Christian woman who chose to block me into a corner as she righteously told me that I just needed to "get over it" and "move on" and that I had grieved for "long enough."
I am here to tell you that these words spoken by friends and loved ones HURT. They cut like knives into my very soul. I had lost my BABY. A part of me. A part of my own body. These well-wishers couldn't understand because they hadn't been through what I had. In their minds, they were being helpful, but in reality, they were HURTFUL.
I think that's why so many women (couples) choose to wait until their 2nd trimester to tell anyone that she's pregnant. If anything does happen and she loses the baby, she doesn't have to hear stupid things from people who should just learn that hugs are so much better than the words spewing out of their mouths.
It's sad, though, don't you think that we're so afraid of the hurtful things people will say that we can't, we won't, even share our joys?
The hurtful words only got worse as the years went on and I miscarried Panya Ruth in November of 1999 and then Anna Rose in November of 2005. The worst words came from my very own husband.
The first time his words cut deep was not too long after we lost James Isaac in '99--and several months before we even knew we were pregnant again. My husband is a pastor and we had several folks in our church who wanted to be baptized. Since we don't have a baptismal in our church building, we used one that a couple in our church were members of. On our way to the pool, my husband and I rode together. During that 20 to 30 minute ride together (the first time we'd been alone together for a while), I poured my heart out to him about how bad I was hurting and struggling with moving beyond my grief. When we pulled in the parking lot at the pool as I put the car in gear, my husband turned to look me dead in the eye and said, "I'm never riding with you to another baptism."
I'm not even going to attempt to explain the pain of those words after I'd just poured out my heart to him.
The next time his words cut deep was in 2006, about six months after I miscarried Panya Ruth. We had agreed we'd wait six months to let my body heal. It was a long, difficult six months, but I lived on the thought that maybe by the end of the year we'd be pregnant again. I had been to my doctor who had given me the thumbs up that it was safe for us to try again. So, we began trying. Every single day. We tried HARD. Then came the day when we were going at it hot and heavy when he got up out of the bed.
I waited, thinking he was closing the door so we didn't wake our 4-year old son.
He did close the door, but then he opened his top dresser drawer. I knew what he kept in that drawer. "What are you doing?!"
"What in the world are you doing?!"
"I've decided that I don't think we should try any more to have any more children."
If I have to explain to you the pain that his words gave me, then you might need to stop reading this.
Yes, our marriage went in the crapper. Yes, I was angry with him for years. Yes, it got bad enough that NOTHING he did was right. Yes, I came to HATE him.
Thankfully I serve a God who is bigger than our hurts and the painful, cutting words spoken. Through lots of counseling, time away (yes, we separated for a time), LOTS of scripture reading, LOTS of prayer, and even LOTS of Bible Studies on joy, I began to find the JOY in my life rather than focusing on the pain in my life.
I want to end this by saying that while I have grown and many of my wounds have healed, it is very easy for those wounds to be re-opened--to be TORN back open and to hurt worse than ever before. Words STILL hurt. A lot. I know quite a few women (and some men) whose wounds are still fresh and who are still in a ton of pain from the thoughtless words spoken by those who have NO IDEA what we're going through.
Remember that Words DO have the power to heal, kill, and/or destroy. Which words will you choose?
Shen, Jean. "Series 1: Healing of Wounds of the Bride and Growing Intimacy with the Lord." Invitation to His Garden. Prophetic Art. Web. 6 Sept. 2014. <http://www.jbrushwork.com/html/paintings.html>.