Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance. (Acts 20:32)
Raised in a culture that admired people with “meat on their bones,” I was often called derogatory names that meant “skinny.” The words were not meant as a compliment and were synonymous with “ugly.” My classmates would ask, “What’s wrong with you? Are you sick?” Those names and questions told me that I was unattractive and that something was wrong with me. Those words told me that I did not belong.
Regardless of how many times I repeated “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never harm me,” I still felt hurt. Psychologists now report what the Bible has been telling us for centuries: Words are powerful and have the ability to build or destroy.
Bullying has become an epidemic and is no longer confined to the playground or even workspace. Bullies can now use technology to follow their victims home, a place that should be a safe haven. By following the apostle Paul’s wisdom, we can use God’s words to build up ourselves and others.
When you commit yourself to God and his Word, and not to the derogatory words of others, you can affirm that you do belong and you do fit in. Belonging to and fitting into the family of God is priceless, and within this family we are to commit to using our words for God’s glory.
Use your words to build others up.
Angela Golden Bryan is a graduate of Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University. Her top spiritual gifts are encouragement, service, and compassion. She and her husband live in South Florida and enjoy visits from their two adult children.
© 2022 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.