When I was a little girl playing in the neighborhood we had a silly little song we would sing when a neighborhood child spoke something hurtful to us. We would chant, “Stick and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me.” I am not sure where that nursery rhyme came from because as I grew older and really listened to the words, I didn’t think they were true.
I think the words that others speak to us can be very hurtful. Many of us struggle for years because of words spoken to us by siblings, parents or school and playmates. A simple statement like, “You are so stupid”, can set up a belief that we are. That belief can hinder us for a lifetime.
In God’s word He even tells us that we sin most through our mouths. Mastering my tongue has and still is a challenging area in my life. Once, I read through the whole book of Proverbs and highlighted every verse about the tongue and our words. There are a lot! It became my “mini” book in a book, a book just on the subject of my words that I could turn to when I knew I was stumbling.
When I first found out what the meaning of my name was I thought, no way, that is not me. My name means pure, clean, faultless and untarnished. But in time I realized how many times a day my name was spoken over me. Those words became a new belief I could grab onto. My name was like a prophecy over my life and I started to work toward being these things.
God created the world with His spoken words. I think that is the first and of course most powerful example of how influential our words can be. When we name our children we need to think about the meaning of that name, not just whether we like it or it goes with our last name. But what does this name mean? Does it describe what my hopes and dreams are for this child? What do I want this child to become? What do the words mean that will be spoken over this child every day of their life? It will be their name. Choose it wisely!
“Reckless words are like a sword” (Proverbs 12:18).
“He who holds his tongue is wise” (Proverbs 10:19).
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight” (Psalms 19:14).
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