Let the righteous rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him; let all the upright in heart praise him! (Ps. 64:10)

“STICKS AND STONES will break my bones but words will never hurt me” is perhaps the worst remedy ever given to anyone who has been bullied or verbally abused. The book of James would tell us that the tongue “is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (3:8). David cried out that words are like arrows. And he was fearful of the “deadly” ones with “evil plans.” He turned to God for refuge, asking for His help and protection from the harsh words that were being spoken. Whether you are currently under attack from deadly arrows or not, the important thing to remember is that words can penetrate the soul and bring great damage. They can indeed hurt you just as badly, if not more, than sticks and stones. However, not all words are evil. Many can be very encouraging and uplifting. Words have the power to pierce, impact, and leave an impression.

We don’t have much control over the words shot at us. We do, however, have the ability to seek God when we need a refuge. In His presence, under His care we will “proclaim the works of God and ponder what he has done.” There we will be able to “rejoice in the Lord.” And in return, the words we speak to others will bring glory and honor to God.

Speak words this week that uplift and encourage others.

Scott Simmons is the author of iFollow: Connecting Belief and Behavior to Who You Are in Christ (WPH) and the youth ministry movement director for The Wesleyan Church.