Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me…Not.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me…Not.

JANUARY 25, 2024

/ Programs / Key Life / Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me…Not.

Steve Brown:
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me,,,Not. Let’s talk, on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
The deepest message of Jesus and the Bible is the radical grace of God to sinners and sufferers. That’s what Key Life is all about. So, if you’re hungry for the hopeful truth that God isn’t mad at you, keep listening. Steve Brown is a professor and our teacher on Key Life.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible open to the Book of Proverbs, we’ve been spending weeks and weeks here and we’ve been just looking at, we’ve been looking at subjects. One time my mentor, Fred Smith, came to the church where I was serving, to spend time with the singles. And I’ll never forget what he said. He said, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do over the next two or three days. I’m going to drop some pearls, and I think they’re true, and I think they’re helpful. And if they’re not helpful with you, just leave those pearls on the floor. But if you find a pearl that is really helpful to you, pick it up and use it, and be glad that I dropped that pearl. Well, that’s true of the Book of Proverbs, as you go through it, there is so much in here and so many different subjects. And so, what we’re doing is we’re looking at those pearls, not in order, but just as they come up in my mind as I find a different subject in the Book of Proverbs. And here’s a good one. Talk, talk, talk. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me. That’s a lie. That’s just not true. In fact, I’d much rather have sticks and stones than I would words. Let me show you why. Proverbs 10:19

In the multitude of words, sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver. The heart of the wicked is worth little. The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of wisdom.

And then Proverbs 10:22

The tongue of the righteous is choice silver. The heart of the wicked is worth little.

Proverbs 10:32

The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked, that is perverse.

Proverbs 15:23 I could go on. I’m going to give you a couple more, but there’s a lot in Proverbs about this subject. This is Proverbs 15:23

A man has joy by the answer of his mouth and a word spoken in due season how good it is.

Proverbs 17:27 through 28

He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace. When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive.

And this didn’t come from Proverbs, but I’ve heard it several times.

Better to be thought a fool, then to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.

And so, the Book of Proverbs is saying something about the power of words. And we don’t think they’re powerful, but they are. Listen, words, and I’ve taught students this for years in seminary, words are more powerful than you can possibly imagine. When you preach and God anoints those words with his Spirit, you get out of the way because God is going to do something, and he’s going to do something important. And so, as Christians, we’ve got to be careful. Now, I’m not telling you to be neurotic about it, and to think of every word you ever speak, but remember that words do have power. And so, if you’re at McDonald’s, and the lady who took your order has a wonderful voice, say, and I’ve said this on numerous occasions, young lady. You have a great voice, and a great way about you, thank you. And you say, you didn’t say that. Yeah, I did. And do you know something? When I looked in my rear view mirror, she was grinning from ear to ear. Because words of encouragement and words of praise, which we don’t speak very often. are so valuable in the life of the person who heard them. And the other is also true. Our words, hurt people. The criticism and the anger and the hatred and they feed on each other and they become bigger and bigger. We live in a culture where that is on steroids. If you’re a Democrat, there isn’t a single Republican that you think has anything to say and isn’t dangerous to democracy. If you’re a Republican, there isn’t a single Democrat that you want to hear and won’t criticize and who is a danger to democracy. Now, sometimes that’s true, and sometimes you have to speak hard truth, but you need to know that as our culture becomes more and more hateful, more and more critical, more and more hostile to other people, something happens in that culture, and that culture begins to die, and we’re at a danger point in our culture right now. I’m not saying we don’t speak truth, we do. That’s what Christians are supposed to do, but it makes a difference in how that is spoken and the heart from which it is spoken. Too often politically, and since I’m using that as an illustration, too often politically, the thing that’s involved in the speaking of the words has nothing to do with the truth of the words. It has to do with power, and with money, and with winning an election. And that makes me angry. And it makes me angry when I participate in it. So, the Book of Proverbs says talk, talk, talk is dangerous. And if it’s not seasoned, if it’s not wise, if it isn’t kind, if it isn’t compassion, then before you speak it, be very, very careful. We live in a time when people’s lives are absolutely destroyed, not because of what they did, but what was said about them. And the Book of Proverbs is really clear in the way it teaches that Christians have to be careful of words. And another thing, and then I’m going to move on to another subject. Well, maybe I won’t have time during this broadcast. But there’s an interesting truth that is taught in the Bible about the power of words. You can get a hint of it in the first chapter of John where it says.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

In other words the Word sometimes is far more powerful in a supernatural way then you know. Did you know that in the Bible if you know the true name, that’s a word, the true name of anything, you have power over that thing because there is power in the name and power in the word. In the Book of Psalms, you will find any, a number of benedictions that sometimes pastors use in their church. What’s a benediction? A benediction is speaking words of blessing over a congregation or over a people. And when you speak a benediction, that blessing becomes a reality in their lives. That’s why the thing that takes place in most churches at the end of the service is so important. The pastor raises his hand, or her hand, and says to the congregation a benediction, that has power to it, that is supernatural, that is important. But also in the Book of Psalms, and throughout the Bible, you find maledictions. What’s a malediction? It’s a curse. It’s where you can pronounce not a blessing, but a curse on somebody. And in the Book of Proverbs, you’ll find some of the Psalms contain those. Now, they don’t say you ought to speak them, but they do let us know how human we are and the power of word. And so be careful. And I’ve taught seminary students that too. There’s power in preaching if you preach with the word and the words that the Holy Spirit has anointed in your ministry. Martin Luther saw preaching on a almost similar plane to the written word of God. And there’s something to that. It can be quite powerful. And in your life, the blessings you pronounce on the people you know and you encounter have legs to them and change lives. And the anger and the cursing does exactly the same thing. Talk, talk, talk. But Proverbs says, be careful. You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
Thanks Steve. And that puts a bow on this week’s exploration of Proverbs. It sure is nice having you here with us. And I hope you’ll be back tomorrow for Friday Q&A. That’s when Steve and our good friend Pete Alwinson will answer this question. Was Jesus homeschooled? You know, I have never wondered about that before. And now I have to know, so be sure to tune in. Well, in the famous words of Ferris Bueller, life comes at you fast. In the time it takes to realize you never fulfilled that dream of becoming a stuntman, astronaut, secret agent, you’re suddenly looking at some hard realities. Doubt, fear, feeling alone. If that’s you, you might want to check out a classic message from Steve based on Philippians 4. It’s called, How to be Content …Not! Get it on CD for free by calling us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD. If you’d like to mail your request, go to to find our mailing addresses. Again, just ask for your free copy of the CD called How to Be Content…Not! Finally, if you value the work of key life, would you join us in that work through your financial support? You can charge a gift on your credit card, or include a gift in your envelope. Or gift safely and securely through text. Just pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Just text that to 28950, then follow the instructions. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.

Back to Top