Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Be Present At Our Table Lord"1 (Lyrics)
Proverbs 16:24 – Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (NIV)
My wire-haired dachshund, Hoss, just didn't seem himself after our daily hike through the bush. He seemed to be favouring his right shoulder and was moving a little more slowly than usual. Finally putting aside what I was doing, I stooped down to examine him. I was shocked to discover a one-inch circular hole in the right side of his chest. He had obviously been impaled by a sharp stick or branch which had ripped into him and then travelled for at least another inch between the skin and muscle wall. Due to the fact that there was next to no bleeding and he had not yelped or cried out in pain when it happened, I was not instantly aware of the injury.
Fortunately, however, I did discover it when I did, and I was able to call my paramedic neighbour who arrived quickly and helped me to shave, clean, and disinfect the wound while we waited for another local resident to arrive with his first aid kit to stitch it up. If the wound had not been discovered and dealt with as quickly as it was, massive infection and severe pain would have resulted within a day or two, or even within a matter of hours.
Impalement is dangerous and very hurtful. Sticks and branches in the bush are not the only things which can cause this type of injury to both man and beast. Sharp, unkind, and thoughtless words can also be the culprit, stabbing us unexpectedly, quickly, and deeply, leaving wounds which, left unnoticed and untended, can fester and grow in a painful and debilitating way.
The old saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me", is definitely not true. I think that we have all learned this over the years. Inappropriate words and names do hurt. When they do, it is most important to recognize the damage that they have done and to deal with it quickly by sharing such pain, either with the Lord or a close friend, and by praying for emotional and mental cleansing and healing.
Another thing which is also — and I would suggest even more — important, is to take time to consider our words before speaking them. By so doing, we make and can take the opportunity to choose carefully between those which build up and bless, and those which rip down and harm, for "Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones". Who among us does not want to be such a blessing to others?
Prayer: Father God, help us not to impale anyone today with sharp, unkind, or thoughtless words. Strengthen and remind us to choose pleasant words — words which are sweet to the soul and healing to the bones — the same kind of words that You always use when speaking to us. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.