Tuesday, November 1, 2016
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"My name is Idiot." She's only 4 years old, but when police in Hot Springs, Arkansas responded to a report of child abuse, that's what she told them. The marks of abuse were all over her body. There were bruises everywhere, she had a black eye, she had scars on her back. Those will heal. But what about the names she's been called? So many times that she actually thinks "Idiot" is her name.
But wait a minute! What about the names we've called people? Even people – maybe especially people – that we love. How many people we know carry invisible, but indelible scars from our own devastating words? It's not that we necessarily mean to hurt. We're just angry, or frustrated, or feeling unheard or ignored. As our emotions escalate, so do our words. And words are like bullets. Once they're fired, you just can't get them back.
As the Bible says, "Reckless words pierce like a sword" (Proverbs 12:18). We all know that's true. We still feel the sting of the names we were called a long time ago, right? Even though the one who fired them at us has probably totally forgotten it.
It's our children who are most damaged by our hurtful words, because children tend to become what we call them. Label them as "lazy" or "stupid" or "worthless" enough, and it will stick. But then, so will "princess" or "smart" or "helper" or "fun." Of course, kids also store what they hear their parents call each other in those heated moments; giving them tacit permission to speak disrespectfully in their relationships, too.
But family's not the only place our words leave wounds. Proverbs 18:21 says, "The tongue has the power of life and death" at school, at work, at the game, in all our close relationships. If people bled physically every time we wounded them verbally, I wonder what a trail we'd leave.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Labeled for Life."
God puts it this way, "The tongue is a world of evil...it sets the whole course of life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell" (James 3:6). Personally, that's one reason I know I need a personal Savior. I've found only one person strong enough to control that fire in me, and that is my death-crushing Jesus. He's that strong.
King David was wise enough to know that we can't conquer this verbal monster in us without some supernatural intervention. Thus, his prayer that should probably be somewhere that I see it every day – maybe where you see it too. It's our word for today from the Word of God in Psalm 141, verse 3, "Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips."
I'm thankful for the lasting imprint of something my wife told me years ago – and many times since: "Ron, don't ever forget the power of your words." I suspect a lot of us need that same reminder, huh? Because long after we've forgotten our "reckless words," the person we wounded may be carrying a long and lasting scar from them.
What about all those names and putdowns that we ourselves carry from the scarring words of others? Well, I'm grateful that God has called me names, too: "God's workmanship" (Ephesians 2:10). Created "in His own image" (Genesis 1:27). God says, "My treasured possession" (Exodus 19:5). He calls us "The temple of the living God" (2 Corinthians 6:16). And then, "My sons and daughters" (2 Corinthians 6:18). And He says we are purchased by the blood of His Son (Revelation 5:9).
If you've been beat down and you have thought you were worthless, all you need to do is take a trip up a hill called Golgotha and stand there at the foot of a cross where Jesus said you're worth dying for; for your sins so you could be with Him forever.
Maybe you've never had that wonderful infusion of value and love that comes when you open your life to Him and you'd like to do that. Let me invite you right now to say, "Jesus, I am yours. Nobody loves me like you do." And if you'd like to know more about beginning this relationship, I would just like to invite you to our website. Go there today. It's ANewStory.com.
I think I'm going to go with who my Creator says I am. Because those people who've called us those other names? They really didn't know who we really are, who God says we are.
So no one's name is "idiot." Not when God says they're His masterpiece.