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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

June 6, 2021

Daily Reading: Job 17-20


Job 19:2

How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words?


"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!" This is the poem that many of us were taught in grade school. As much as it sounds right, it is not altogether true. Words do hurt. They hurt Job. He said that the words of his friends, so called, broke him into pieces. Yes, a thousand times a thousand, words hurt. Broken bones can heal in about six- or eight-weeks’ time, but the brokenness that words cause, may never heal in a lifetime.


Before being considered as a snowflake let it be said that words should just be like water off a duck’s back. Simply repelled causing no lasting injury. Bible verses like Psalm 119:165 help. Great peace have they that love thy law, and nothing shall offend them. While we try to live within the confines of that verse, let's face it. Some words break us.


Years ago a story was told about a young man that was riding his bicycle on the top rail of the fence around his home. It was an unbelievable thing! One day a businessman was passing by and upon seeing the boy riding his bike on the top rail of his fence the man said, "Son, what are you doing, that is dangerous, no one can ride a bike on the top rail of a fence, you need to stop that." From that day forward the boy never attempted the great unique feat again. The man's words broke the boy's confidence and wrecked the joy of doing the impossible. Yes, words hurt, words break, and words deter greatness. How many have been broken from greatness in life, or the fulfilling of some special calling, by the careless words of friends or family? Uncounted millions for sure.


Job's friends were breaking him with their words. Notice Job's downward spiral. Later in verse 14 Job goes further, My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me. Then he even goes further in verse 19 when he stated: All my inward friends abhorred me: and they whom I loved are turned against me. (do you remember his wife's advice in 2:9...curse God and die.)


But in all this God may have had a plan. Job's despair moved him from seeing himself to casting his eyes upon the Lord. For in verses 25-26 Job uttered the famous words: For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.


When the words of a friend hurt, cast your eyes upon Jesus. Set your affections upon things above as Paul wrote in Colossians. Live in light of your Redeemer. It may not heal the hurt, but it will change your perspective.


Until tomorrow, live for Christ today.

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