“Sticks and Stones can Break My Bones, But Words can Never Hurt Me”
I’m sure you’ve heard that, and even said that when you were a child? But is it true? I’m pretty sure that sticks and stones can break your bones; But, is it true that “words can never hurt me? Well, we’re going to answer that question as we study several bible verses and passages.
Listen to these words from Jesus, which are written in John 12, verse 48; “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; The WORD I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.” The “word” in that verse, is singular, not plural. But of course Jesus isn’t implying that He has spoke only one word in all His teachings. But rather, Jesus is considering all His words together, and He’s referring to them as “the Word I spoke”.
Just like we refer to the bible as “the Word of God”; Though it contains thousands of words, the bible is “the Word of God”. And so Jesus tell His disciples (and He tells us as well) that “the Word that I spoke, shall judge you at the last day”. Must be some pretty important words, if they’re going to judge us on the last day.
I wonder if those words are going to hurt anyone, on the last day? Do you think they are? Do you think they can? Or, can words never hurt me? It’s something to think about isn’t it?
Words ARE important, aren’t they? They must be. Psalm 119:105 says; “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Verse 89 says; “Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.” Verse 130 says; “The entrance of Thy words giveth light;
It giveth understanding unto the simple.”
And so the words of God are meant to be a light for us. A light that illuminates our path, and a light that gives us understanding. And of course it’s the light of truth. “Thy word is truth” Jesus said, in John 17:17. Jesus prayed to His Father, and said; “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth.”
So then, God’s word is truth, and the purpose of God’s word is to sanctify us. At least that’s one of the purposes of God’s word. Actually, I’d say that our sanctification, is the FINAL and ULTIMATE purpose of God’s word. You could say that the purpose of God’s word is to give us knowledge of God, and of Jesus Christ. And you could say that the purpose of God’s word is to instruct us, in variety of different things. Things like morality, and avoiding sin, and in how we worship God, and in how we should treat one another, and in a host of other things as well.
Here’s just one verse that tells us of several purposes for God’s word. 2 Timothy 3:16 says; “All scripture is inspired by God, and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be thoroughly furnished, and equipped for every good work.”
But you know, with all the uses, and purposes for God’s word, it all boils down to one ultimate goal and one ultimate purpose. And that one ultimate purpose is the salvation of man. And so that brings me back to what Jesus said in His prayer, in John 17, verse17; “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth.”
You can tell here, can’t you, that I’m equating sanctification, with salvation? We’re told in James 1, verse 21; “Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.” The word of God is what can save our souls!
And we’re told in 1 Peter 1, verse 23; “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable; Through the living and enduring WORD of God.” Our souls are saved, and we’re born again, by the imperishable, and implanted word of God, which is truth, in which we are sanctified.
What exactly does it mean to be “sanctified”? And why am I equating being “sanctified” with being saved? Well, it’s because of the very meaning of the word “sanctify”. The word “sanctify” comes from the Greek word “hag-ee-ad’-zo. Do you remember when I had a lesson on the word “hagios” ? The word “hagios” simply means.. “holy”. And the word “hag-ee-ad’-zo” means.. “to make holy”.
“Make them holy through Thy truth; They word is truth.” Do you know how God makes us “holy”? Well, let me read a fuller definition, of the word “sanctify”. To “sanctify” means.. “I make holy, treat as holy, set apart as holy, (now hang on to that one) set apart as holy, hallow, purify.” When God sanctifies someone, He is making them “holy”, by purifying them (in other words, by forgiving their sins.. That’s how God purifies us, by forgiving our sins) So, God makes us “holy” by forgiving our sins, and by setting us apart. Cleansed, and set apart.
And how do you think that God “sets us apart” ? God “sets us apart” by taking us out of this world, and putting us INTO the kingdom of Christ, which is the church, the body of Christ. Now when I say that God takes us out of this world, I’m talking spiritually. Of course we don’t leave this world physically, until we die. But spiritually speaking, God transfers us out of this world, and into His church; Christ’s kingdom.
And here’s a verse that specifically says that; Colossians 1, verse 13 says; “For He has rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us into the kingdom of His beloved Son.” The KJV says that God delivered us, from the power of darkness..” But that word “delivered” means to be delivered from danger! Thus, we are rescued! This world is the “domain” of darkness; This world is ruled, by the “power” of darkness. And of course “darkness” is being equated with sin.
Let me read a few verses from 1 John chapter 1. We’re told in verse 5; “This is the message we have heard from Him, and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” Verse 6 says; “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, (with God) and yet walk in the darkness, (in other words, if we continue to practice sin) we lie and do not practice the truth.”
And verse 7 tells us; “But if we walk in the Light, (in truth) as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son, cleanses us from all sin.” That’s one part of being sanctified, to be cleansed of sin. And so when we are cleansed of our sin, we are then “rescued from the power of darkness”. We are “rescued from the power of sin”. Do you remember what the bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:55 thru 57 ? “Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ!”
When we are forgiven of our sins, those sins no longer have any power over us, thus we are “rescued from the power of sin”. And at the very same time, we are rescued from “the domain of sins”, the “domain of darkness” we are also translated, or transferred into a different domain. We’re transferred into the “domain” of the kingdom of Christ. God sets us apart from this world, doesn’t He? He does! God places us in the kingdom of His beloved Son.
On the day of Pentecost, 33 AD, Acts 2:47 tells us that God was “adding to their number daily, such as were being saved.” God was cleansing souls, and He was setting them apart in the church, the kingdom of Christ. Do you understand what the word “sanctify” means now? It means that you’re saved! You’re cleansed! Your sins are forgiven, and you’re added to the church of Christ, the kingdom of Christ.
The word “sanctify” is just a word, isn’t it? It’s just a word. But it is one of the many words of Christ, that will judge us on the last day. And that’s great news, for those who know the words of God, and who believe the words of God, and who obey the words of God. All these scriptures that I’ve quoted, and all these words that I’ve quoted, they’ve got the power to save us, they can’t hurt us one bit, if we know them, and believe them, and obey them.
But what about the person who either doesn’t know these words, or the one who doesn’t believe these words, or the one who doesn’t obey these words? Can these words hurt that person? Remember what Jesus said, in John 12:48 ? “The word that I spoke to you shall judge you on the last day.” The fact is, that a lot of people are going to be hurt, by the very words that are designed to save our souls. By the very words that DO save our souls!
And so the words of the Lord, are very, very important for us, to know, and to understand, and to obey. And although no words, are any more important that God’s words, even OUR words are important! Even the words that WE say, are very important.
It was Jesus who said, in Mathew 12:37; “For by THY words, thou shalt be justified, and by THY words, thou shalt be condemned.” By our own words, we will be either justified, or condemned. Now that’s a pretty serious thought. That’s as serious as the fact that the words that Jesus has spoken shall judge us at the last day. Now we’re being told that even the words that WE have spoken, will judge us!
How does that work? How will our words either justify, or condemn us? The word that Jesus spoke, will judge us on the last day, but the words that WE speak, will either justify us or condemn us.
What if the words that we speak, as we journey through this life, match the very words that Jesus spoke as He journeyed through His life. Will our words justify us, or will they condemn us? What if our words are a constant contradiction, to the words of Jesus? Then what?
I’m sure you remember when the apostle Paul said, 1 Corinthians 2, verse 2; “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you, except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” Paul wanted to make sure, that he wasn’t going to be condemned by his words. And so he resolved, to know nothing but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. We’d probably be wise to follow that example. We sure don’t want to be spreading any false teaching do we? We want to always, “abide in the teaching of Christ”. (2 John, verse 9)
Jesus said, in Mathew 12, verse 36; “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” What’s an “idle word” ? Some versions call it “thoughtless words”. Some call it “careless words”. But what does that mean? Jesus says that we’re going to be giving an account for all those words, so what are they?
Here’s what it means; It means.. “lazy, thoughtless, unprofitable, injurious.” “lazy” there means to NOT be doing what we ought to be doing! Not speaking the way we ought to be speaking. Do we sometimes speak words that could be called “lazy, thoughtless, unprofitable, injurious” ? If we do, I wonder if any of those words can hurt us? I don’t think they’ll be the kind of words that justify us, do you?
Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can condemn my soul! Or, they can preserve my soul. The choice is ours.