Sticks and Stones
by Bill Martin

You know the old saying, ?you are what you eat.?  Well you are what you speak as well.

Words have meaning and words give you meaning.

I?m sure you also know the old children?s rhyme: ?Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me," is certainly not true. Words can and do often hurt very deeply.

That?s why it?s so important to use the right words.  You used the right words for your own salvation because in Romans 10:10 we read ?For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.? Your heart and your mouth and tied together.  They are critical for your own salvation.

I have been recently counseling someone who?s suffered for years from the pain of someone yelling, "You?re not good enough", or  "It's no use".  This person has not been in a church for two decades, burn out from spousal attacks and little or no support for the church. You may be in a similar situation or know of someone who?s being verbally abused or using verbally abusive language.  Nothing could be farther from the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 12:35 says it plainly enough, ?A good person produces good words from a good heart, and an evil person produces evil words from an evil heart.?

Words are the building blocks for what we are. It is our responsibility to weed the unproductive thoughts and fill ourselves with sound positively. I can?t begin to tell you the number of people at work who show up with what I call a demonic attitude. Their language filled with anger, hate and gossip. Quite frankly, if I may use the word, I hate being near them. Psalms 45:7 ?you love what is right and hate what is wrong.?

Luke 11:28 He replied, "But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice."  It?s all about hearing, saying and then doing.

We need to be encouragers. Becoming an encourager doesn?t simply mean speaking in flowery language but offering respectful and prayerful language.

In Hebrews (10:23-24) Paul writes ?Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds.?

Yes, outbursts of love and good deeds rather than outbursts of foul language and hate speech. I?ve learned to be confident of God?s love and understand that unsuitable and even hurtful comments should be lovingly but firmly ignored.  When I hear the negative speech and the gossip my instinct now is to run.  I at least put on my headphones and listen to some good music. 

We recently went through very difficult union contract negotiations at the station.  All of the on-air people belong to the national union, The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.  Some believe the union has no place in this day and age, others disagree.  It was easy to see the feelings on both sides very intense.  While some did stray from polite behavior, I always pushed for both sides to be respectful and godly and they were.

The bottom line is this, Romans 1:12 ?I'm eager to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. In this way, each of us will be a blessing to the other.?

Lets be a blessing to each other.  If we blow-it then lets apologize.

Galatians 6:1 ?Dear brothers and sisters, if another Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path.?

Bill Martin is a multiple winner of Emmy and Associated Press Awards for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism. He was also inducted into the Ohio Television/Radio Hall of Fame in 1999.

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