Lent Devotions Day 22: “Fast from Wounding Words”

“Fast from Wounding Words”

By Fernando Arzola Jr, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles. (Matthew 15:11)

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.” This old adage was originally written in 1862 in The Christian Recorder, the oldest existing African American periodical in America.

A later version reads, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”

Every American raised child learned this rhyme at some point. It teaches children a valuable lesson – avoid retaliation when words are used to hurt them.

While this is certainly an important lesson, as we get older, it seems the opposite is more accurate.  Bones do often heal, but words can harm – and scar for a very, very long time.

Do our words wound or heal? Do they put down or lift up?

what now?

During this Lenten season, let us fast from wounding words. Let us speak words of life to people – words that inspire and heal.


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