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Hope for the Day

Sticks and stones

Diane Houghtaling
Posted 10/13/23

“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” This little saying is simply not true. I imagine the person who first said it was greatly hurt by the words of …

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Hope for the Day

Sticks and stones


“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” This little saying is simply not true. I imagine the person who first said it was greatly hurt by the words of others.

Words carry much power for good. They can be a great encourager to motivate, build us up, give us hope, pull us out of discouragement and depression. Words can give us the strength to make it through another day, or be the catalyst to push us on to fulfill our destinies.

But words also have the power to destroy, and can do great damage to our lives. They can cut deeper than a sword, break our hearts or stop us in our tracks. Unforgiven words can lead to bitterness of soul, anger, and resentment.

Hurtful words spoken to children can prevent them from being all God created them to be. When children are told they are stupid, can’t do anything right, or will never amount to anything, they believe it and live out those damaging words. They may never rise to the potential that should have been.

As hurtful as others’ words to us may be, few realize how damaging negative self-talk is. Most of the time we pay little attention to the words we speak over ourselves, and are less aware of the thoughts that produce those words.

What’s the first thing you say when you’ve made a mistake? “I’m so stupid; I’m such a loser; I can’t do anything right.” Or do you give yourself some grace and speak life over yourself? “Yes, I made a mistake, but what can I learn from this?”

Life and death are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). We cannot control what others say to us, but we do have the power to control what we speak to others and about ourselves. It takes diligence to pay attention to our thoughts and the subsequent words they produce, but it’s the only way to renew our minds and change.

One woman wrote that she actually recorded herself speaking for a couple days. She was shocked when she listened to her words. She had spoken over 200 negative things about herself. Are we willing to try this little experiment to hear what comes out of our mouths?

The negative, hurtful words we speak over ourselves are lies. The only way to combat lies and renew our minds is with the truth that God speaks to us. God says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3), so we can declare, “I am worth loving because God loves me.” 

God says, “I know the plans I have for you, to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). In response we can say, “I matter. What I do matters. God has good plans for my life and will help me to fulfill them.”

We are beautiful in God’s sight, fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). So let’s stop with the labels of negative self-talk – “I’m fat; I’m ugly; no one could ever love someone like me.” 

As we begin to let God’s truth about us permeate our hearts and practice speaking forth life and positive truths from His word, we will find healing for our broken hearts. We’ll be able to move forward into the fulfilling, meaningful life God meant for us to experience. What we think and say about ourselves today determines who we will be tomorrow.

Hope Ministries is a Christian counseling center, and we are here to help. If you would like to speak confidentially with someone, give us a call at 845-482-5300.


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