Words that Hurt, Words that Heal

2 Timothy 1:1-4
"Mom, hurry! John fell off his bike and hurt his leg." Matt's words swept through the kitchen window, their urgency unmistakable. I punched off the stove burners and ran outside. At the edge of the porch, nine year old John rocked back and forth, clutching one leg. "My bike hit a rock and I slid on the dirt. It hurts so much." Tears filled his eyes as he said, "Do we have something that'll take the sting out, Mom?"

We did and fifteen minutes later John was outside again, the angry abrasion covered with soothing ointment and a non-stick bandage.

Maybe you haven't fallen off a bike, but the sting of a family member's hateful words to you is every bit as painful. Or perhaps, in a moment of impatience and hurry, you've said cruel things to a loved one. Now you'd give anything to take those words back.

In 2 Timothy 1:1-4, Paul refers to Timothy as "beloved," a term more soothing to its recipient than any ointment. Paul's example provides an antidote for things once said and now regretted--the transforming, two-way power of a gentle word.

Take a minute right where you are to think of five words that especially touch your heart. Say them out loud, the way you'd like to hear them spoken to you. Then pray: "Forgive me, Lord, for inflicting pain by the things I say. Please infuse every word I speak today with Your soothing love.

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