Remember the old cliché from childhood: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me?
Not true. Words and names can do much more lasting damage. Cuts and bruises heal. Words and names create self-images that linger and poison for years. They can become prophecies we fulfill whether we want to or not. Parents, siblings, peers, coaches, law enforcement, schools, our experiences, environments, and fears all combine to create an image of ourselves.
“You’re no good.”
“You’ll never amount to anything.”
“You can’t handle money.”
“Why can’t you be like your brother? Or your sister? Or Uncle Fred?”
“You’re such a slob.”
How many of us have had these words or something very similar spoken to us? They hurt then, and they still sting now.
Here’s a question to consider: Who told you that? Your mother, your father? A teacher or classmate? Your ex-spouse? The most serious side effect of these negative comments is they become our self-talk. We believe and speak what has been spoken into us.
The next time one of these derogatory or negative phrases comes to mind, start quizzing yourself. Ask yourself, “Who told me that?” Consider the source. They are all flawed humans just like us. They all have their perceptions and expectations of the world that taint how they see us and how they characterize us.
Then ask yourself, “Who does God say I am?”
His is the only opinion that matters because his Word is the truth. His Word is the only source for what is true about him, about us, our pasts, our futures, about others, about our enemies, about this world and the next.
Let Psalm 139:14 NKJV be our meditation and our answer. “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.”
His Word is a mirror for us to see ourselves as he sees us.
How would you handle negative comments from your past (or present) knowing who you are in Christ?