Sticks & Stones
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Sticks & Stones

In July of 2003 a Viennese team of nine surgeons led by Rolf Ewers replaced a diseased tongue with a tongue from a brain-dead donor.  The recipient can talk and eat but has no sense of taste.  It would be fun to think the man with the new tongue now had the same vocabulary and accent as the donor but the tongue no more builds sentences any more than a hammer builds a house.  It is a tool like a hammer and can be used constructively or destructively.  A hammer can drive home a nail and a tongue can drive home an idea.  A hammer can smash a multitude of things and a tongue can smash human egos and personalities.

When we were little we sang, “Sticks and stones can break my bones but names can never hurt me.”   It would be difficult to find a more inaccurate sentence. The wounds from sticks and stones heal but the wounds from names and ridicule can damage a life beyond repair. I used to wonder why we are so eager to believe the worst about others but now I believe it is because we believe the worst about ourselves.  There is an old saying that misery loves company.  If we can drag down others then maybe we wouldn’t look so bad.

Let’s use our tongues to encourage others.  Everyone has some good points.  Tell them we noticed.  If they are young, speak of their gifts and fill them with hope.  Assure them God has dreams for them with ample power available for success.  In return they might say something nice about us.

Written by Roger Bothwell on December 9, 2003.

Spring of Life, 901 Signorelli Circle, St. Helena, CA 94574