Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sticks and Stones...

If only the saying were true. Unfortunately sticks and stones tend to cause less damage than words. I was reminded of this on Friday night as I sat with two friends and we evaluated what events had brought us to where we were.

I remember one particular event. I was around fifteen. I was sitting with a friend. (*Names have been changed.) What brought us to this point in the conversation I don't know, and what happened afterward I also don't remember. There was this moment, however, of about thirty seconds. That moment has been etched into my memory. *Fred leaned back and started speaking, looking up at the ceiling. "Celia is very beautiful. Brenna is by far more beautiful than anyone in the world. Brooke, well, she's not pretty at all. Oh, well Stephanie, you are prettier than Brooke." I don't remember what I thought then at that moment. I do, however, know that it impacted me. That one statement caused me to think, oh well, he's right. I only have the chance of being prettier than someone who apparently falls below the "beauty" line. It was one person's opinion. I took it for truth.

And so, Friday night I sat with my friends and listened between the lines. I heard sorrow. A kind of sadness that cannot be explained. I listed to them talk about how they have tried to forget and erase the words that someone put on them. I heard them as they rationalized how these statements, not even true, had caused them to rethink their actions. The problem is, words, once spoken, cannot be taken back. We can look back into the eyes of someone who just spoke to us and say, "Oh, that doesn't bother me," and yet, we know it does. For many, the voice of negativity and contempt comes from the inside.That voice is usually the hardest to silence.

The true words that we should be listening to comes from the voice of the one who knows us best. The one who sees us when we are the worst versions of ourselves and yet loves us.

An excerpt from a commentary:
A young man was talking with his teacher. The teacher told the student to go to the grave of a particularly famous man. Once there the young man was to yell at the grave. Scream at the grave. Tell the man who's body lay buried there how terrible he was, how imperfect...(You get the idea.) The student went back to his teacher and waited for his next instructions. The teacher sent the student back to the grave and told him this time to give praise. The student did so. He went back to the grave and instead of negative words he replaced his words with praise. The young man went back to his teacher one more time. The teacher looked at the student. "You see," he said, "What you just said to the body buried in that grave means nothing now. He is not alive to hear it, to apply it, to use it. So it is with those who are "dead" in Christ. Praise and blame mean nothing."

What does that mean to me? I read that and realized that when I look to God for the affirmation about who I am I am at peace. I can be certain in those moments that I am who I should be. If I trust God for my worth and my value, the words of others are not my foundation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post and very true