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Sticks and Stones

      The person who wrote the nursery rhyme ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me’ may have had good intentions, but as a life philosophy, I’m not sure it is helpful. After all, sticks can be sharp, and stones can be deadly.  Ask Goliath.

      As Christians we are taught Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God, and rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice.(Philippians 4:4), but what does that look like in the face of some of the attacks that come our way?  Practically speaking this seems easier to say than to do, doesn’t it?

     As I think about the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians, and how he so strongly encourages them to stand firm and to be at peace with one another I am transported to several conversations where it was really difficult to stand and even more difficult to be at peace. For example, a good friend of mine could not understand that as a Christian I felt God was calling our family to homeschool.  She was appalled enough to ask me if we had joined a cult.  This was hurtful and humiliating to me.  On another occasion I  had a family member tell me that I was “hurting my family” with my beliefs. He felt that I could serve my family much better with less conservative ideas.  Church members are not exempt from saying hurtful things either.  After telling a fellow believer about my excitement about Ephesians 6:10-18 and how I felt how I could  help train                      women to fight for their families using this text, he said to me  “well that’s not very feminine.” Really? Because spiritual warfare is genteel?  Needless to say having a man say that to me did not help the cause of unity in the Body, nor was it causing me peace.

      Looking back on some of these times in my life, I can see the wily schemes that the Enemy has used to try  to dampen my enthusiasm for Jesus, to break relationships, to try to make me give up. The attacks are brutal sometimes, and sometimes more subtle. BUT, I am thankful that with God's help, they can be overcome.

      While some of these comments had me sad, confused, or angry for a long time, others were more easily overcome.   I can see that the times where I was able to overcome more quickly I was deep in my daily Bible reading and in prayer.  I also was quick to run to godly friends who could encourage me, and pray with me.  I think my ability to be at peace was directly related to my contact with my Heavenly Father, and the people of God.

      Are you in a situation where you have lost your peace and feel like you are on shaky ground?  Is the Enemy slinging sticks and stones at your head through the use of other people’s words or actions?  Are these sticks and stones building a wall between you and your mate; your children; the people of God?     

     I want to encourage you that you can overcome.  Unity is possible, peace is possible. One of my favorite verses is Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all of these things will be added to you.

If you are a follower of Jesus I encourage you to press on in prayer and thanksgiving, and also to seek wise counsel.  Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.(1 Thess. 5:16-18. Proverbs 11:14.)   If you are not Christian, there is hope.  Jesus said, “come to me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28.  That sounds much better to me than ducking sticks and stones.