Under the social media microscope is a horrible place to grow up. I talked to a young woman last week who experienced it in all its ugliness. She stumbled into an online conversation in which people she thought were her friends turned on her and berated her. They proved yet again the stupidity of that little rhyme about sticks and stones. Words can hurt. Sometimes irreparably. But words can also give hope and encouragement and life. We have the ability to choose whose words we will believe. In the swirl of voices around us, it’s critical that we choose correctly.
We could choose to listen to a well-meaning liar who tells us we’re the best at everything when we’re not, and we’ll end up an arrogant fool or a disillusioned brat. We could choose to listen to hurtful liars who tell us we’re no good, hopeless and useless and so we never embrace the beauty that God designed into us.
The only voices worth listening to come from those who know us and love us with a love that’s not lip-service, but demonstrated and reliable. Do they know me? Have they demonstrated that they love me? These are the questions to ask when hurtful words are hurled our direction. If the answers are no, then don’t give the words a weight they have no right to.
Simple … but not always easy.
Sometimes, it helps to begin by giving the most weight to the words of the One who loves us best. It is God who says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” “I have called you, chosen you, redeemed you.” “I have made a way for you to be with Me for all eternity.”
If we grasp those words with all their fierce reality … then it won’t matter, really, what anyone else says.
God’s word is the final word.