The saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” could not be any more false. Actually, verbal abuse cuts to the core and wounds the spirit like piercing arrows.
On the other hand, a soothing tongue is a tree of life (Proverbs 15:4), and the tongue of the righteous are like silver (Proverbs 10:20). Yet more fundamental than affecting our feelings, the words people aim our way tell us whom and whose we are. Words shape identify.
God promised his people, Zion, a fresh identity through his words. Zion had drifted far from God, ignored his law, and allowed injustice to run rampant. Yet God said, “The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” (Isaiah 60:20). After they did, God said that Israel’s neighbors would no longer label them “deserted” or “desolate,” but rather “my delight is in her” (Hephzibah) and “married” (Beulah), and that his words would draw them to himself.
Is the same true today for you and me? Dr. Neil Anderson of Freedom in Christ Ministries highlights terms that God promises us when we are found in him, terms such as:
- Free from condemnation
- Inseparable from his love
- His workmanship
- His temple
- A minister of his reconciliation.
The list goes on (see [https://ficm.org/about-us/#!/who-i-am-in-christ]).
Have you embraced those terms, and see yourself as God sees you, or do you shrug them off and say, “No, not me”?
Dear God, thank you that I am who you say I am. Help me ignore the labels that Satan and the world wish to impose on me. Draw my attention to your promise of freedom and joy when I walk with you, and may I know your love and redemption in my life as I agree with what you say of me. Amen.
Go Deeper — Which terms in the above list do you find easy to believe? Which do you still struggle with? Will you pray to God about them?
Photo Credit: Elena Blessing