The Weight of Words

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”


Why do I put such a hefty weight on the words of critics and then try to play down the compliments coming from people who care?

One reason is my attempt to trick myself from falling for the law of diminishing returns. “The tendency for a continuing effort toward a particular goal to decline in effectiveness after a certain amount of success has been achieved” is the definition of this odd law. In more practical terms: you except more and you don’t get it so you are disappointed. When I internally discredit the compliments of other people I am preparing myself for the drought that comes between such instances. It would be similar to the mental processing that one would go through if they were to fill their canteen before a long trek across the desert knowing that there will be no sources of water until you get to the other side of the vast expanse of dryness.

Here is another cliché that I find troublesome: turn your frown upside down.  Oh, if were just that easy! If I could take the complaints that people hurl our way and turn them into compliments, the insults into encouragement, the trash-talk into cheer leading, the murmurs into affirmation and the nit-picking into pick-me-ups then the world might be a more pleasant place.

You know on the sci-fi movies when the ship is losing power and the deflector shields become weaker and weaker with every hit? I kinda feel that way right now, like the power has been depleted. If we were taking the hits for horrendous acts of sin and treachery then I might understand it. It has been more for advances than retreats that we have been under attack. I suppose that is the way it is on the sci-fi shows too. I wish there was an easier way than the outline provided in Matthew chapter five.

“God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers.”

That was verse eleven. So what do I do about it? Verse twelve:

“Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.”

How do you get happy and glad when you’ve been swindled into buying a bag of rotten goods at the high price of headaches and gray hairs?

*verses quoted from the New Living Translation


15 thoughts on “The Weight of Words

  1. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED this Angie!! Did you do your own cartoons?? Fabulous teaching that is soooo TRUE!

    Keep ’em coming Ang!

  2. @ng,

    I’m sorry if you have been hurt by words.

    I don’t know what to say…other than whoever said hurtful words doesn’t really know you. I’d like to say it’s not worth being hurt over or to just not care what people think…but I care about those things.

    Know that I love you. And I think you’re pretty fantastic.

  3. Boy do I hear you on this one!! I am in the trenches of this one myself, in a full on battle it would seem. Every once in awhile I stop and reflect long enough to muse over the thought that ,this being a spiritual battle we are in, the enemy is really pulling out all the stops right now so we must be donig something or about to be involved in something that he does not like! This thought makes me laugh out loud, because it could mean that the enemy is worried. I am OK with that!
    I have to say you have been a huge blessing to me recently and I want to say “Thank-you”, you are being lifted in prayer all the way from Canada!!
    God Bless,

  4. Hi @ngie, I’m so sorry if others have said things that have hurt or discouraged you or your family … This is a really, really hard one, I find. For me, a feeling of injustice seems to go with it. It’s like if you’re trying your best and your heart is right, then criticism seems to especially sting. Hope you are OK. You have an amazing heart for God and for people, and your ministry makes a difference for God’s kingdom :) With love.

  5. *ang – yes, I think it is a matter of perspective. Perhaps it always is. Seen vs unseen. “Fix your eyes.” “Not of this world.” I think there’s a lot of evidence to this. :) Thanks.

  6. @Thumbuddy – Thank you fro your comprehension. It means alot to me. I love you.

    @Carin – Thank you for your Canadian based prayers – they make a world of difference. It is so true that we can get happy knowing that harsh words are evidence that we are making the enemy nervous. Thanks for that reminder.

    @Birgit – Yes, the injustice is hard to stomach. Thanks for your encouragement.

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