Sticks and stones

This is from the book of James:

‘,,,, mighty ships, though they are massive and driven by fierce winds, yet they are steered by a tiny rudder at the direction of the person at the helm.
For every wild animal on earth including birds, creeping reptiles, and creatures of the sea and land have all been overpowered and tamed by humans, but the tongue is not able to be tamed. It’s a fickle, unrestrained evil that spews out words full of toxic poison! ‘

Strong stuff, eh? Words spoken, whispered or written are powerful.

‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.’ What a lie that is. Bruises and breakages, we get over. Words stay with us forever. Calling names and criticising are not only accusations, they’re a chronic assault, because once a word is said, a nasty murmur spread, it cannot be unsaid, there is no local anaesthetic to numb the hurt, there’s no arnica to ease the bruise. It’s there. Blame someone to harvest sympathy for yourself, take self-righteous delight in judging someone, and you demean everyone – yourself, the person you’re maligning and everyone who hears you. And what an example you give to the world.

What am I going on about? I’m going on about rotten stinking old Facebook, that’s what! And Twitter and a dozen other media platforms I’m too old (hurrah!) to know about. There have been two horrible posts in the last three weeks, from two different people, that have already done real harm. I don’t follow either of these people but the words they sent out into the world were exactly as James described them… unrestrained, spewing out. Within minutes of being posted they had done harm, from here to the ends of the earth for all I know…. while the people who had posted them sat back and felt … what? Satisfied? Justified? Triumphant? It’s the new way of throwing stones and running away, cowardly revenge, the new way of lobbing a hand grenade into a peaceful scene and watching the mayhem that results. It’s mean and grubby and deeply damaging to the writer and the reader. I want to go out onto the street and throw my arms wide and shout out loud and loud and loud

‘Stop it! Just stop it!

But it’s a bit like bad drivers – everyone you ever speak to is a good driver…. so where do all the idiots on the road come from? Everyone who talks about social media decries its misuse – so who’s doing the damage? One of the two posts I mentioned comes from someone who lectures others about privacy and cyber bullying. I just don’t get it.

Words are mean little things, and sometimes we are mean little things, all of us, but God is always good. And maybe the lesson to all of us is twofold; don’t say unkind things, and don’t listen to unkind things. Or threefold – Luce, don’t run out onto the street to shout ‘Stop it!’ Instead, remember Philippians 4:8 (TPT)

Keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always.

OK, Paul. I’ll do my best. Here I go, thinking about good things…… fastening my thoughts on the glorious work of God.

This morning

Doesn’t that delight the heart? Amaze the senses? Feed the imagination? Bring God into the moment? Make the world seem a whole lot smaller and God a whole lot greater? Doesn’t it? Doesn’t it?

How amazing that, scruffy and grubby and stumbling as we are, he loves us. Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you have done, he loves you. Right now.

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