Sticks and Stones… (Nehemiah 4 Preview)

February 4, 2011 by cloften  
Filed under Bible, Church and Leadership, Teaching

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”  I’m not sure where that ranks on the all-time childhood taunts, but I have it pretty high.  However, it’s definitely behind, “Nanny, nanny, boo-boo,” and “I’m rubber and you’re glue…”

Actually thinking about it, it really isn’t that great of a taunt, because it’s not remotely true. (Well I guess neither is “I’m rubber…” but as always, I digress.)

I have fallen and hurt myself many times, including onto sticks and stones.  I have even broken a bone.  You know what?  I really don’t remember what it felt like.  If I think about it, it doesn’t hurt me again.  On the other hand, there are things that people said to me over 30 years ago (including a sob story that I will tell on Sunday), that I still remember and still hurts when I think about it.

Sticks and stones break bones.  However bones heal much faster than feelings.  We will spend the bulk of our time on Sunday talking about how we deal with discouragement.  I wanted to take a little time here to look at it from the other side.  Don’t be a discourager.  I think that there are way too many Christians who fancy themselves as having the gift of “prophecy” or “exhortation” which is really just Christian-ese for I like to line people out and rebuke them and tell them what I don’t like about them.  You can say that you have a “prophet’s heart,” but prophets spoke from God.  Often we speak out of being annoyed or bothered personally.

Ask yourself this question before you say something that will hurtful.  Hold on, a good first step is to stop and think about whether or not it will be hurtful.  Then think twice before you say it.  Then ask yourself this question, “Will this encourage them to get better or discourage them to even try?” Then ask, “Am I doing this because I care about them or because I care about me?”

God wants us to be involved in each others’ lives and help each other get better, but far too often we are motivated out of our own hurt and frustration and a neck-rolling “I’m gonna tell them something.”

What if the discouraging hurtful thing you were going to say would stick with them 33 years later and it still stuck in their gut and hurt, would you still say it? (seriously, it’s a great story)


One Response to “Sticks and Stones… (Nehemiah 4 Preview)”
  1. Peter Freund says:

    Good word, and great sermon.

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