The retort given to name-callers about sticks and stones hurting, but words not hurting is simply not true. Words can hurt. They shape lives, for good or bad. Call a child “stupid” enough times and he believes it. Tell a woman you love her enough times and she will respond.
I’m reading the gospels and notice the power of Jesus’ words. He said, “Be healed” and people were healed. He said, “Rise up and walk” and the infirm rose up and walked. Jesus is the logos, the Word of God in human flesh. When God spoke this Word, the universe was created. The Word of God exposes sin, convicts hard hearts, changes lives. His Word is powerful and it stands forever.
Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. (Psalm 33:8–9)
The written Word of God preserves me. I used to say if I didn’t read my Bible one day, God noticed; two days, I noticed; and three days, everyone noticed. I’ve learned the hard way that I need the written Word of God to keep me from foolishness just as I need the living Word of God, the word who became flesh, to save me from sin and preserve my life. Jesus protects me from the dangers that the written Word warns me about. These two work together to protect my life from the assaults of Satan, the lusts of the flesh, and the temptations in the world.
Again, the Word’s most admirable work is the salvation and deliverance of sinners. I may know what God wants me to do, but without the power in the written Word of God, I cannot put away sin…
… put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (James 1:21–22)
The reason the Word of God has this power is that it connects God with man. This incarnation is in Jesus Christ, the power and wisdom of God. By an amazing conception in the womb of a virgin, Almighty God united Himself with humanity. He did it without any confusion of the two natures or changing the one into the other. One nature does not swallow up another and make a third distinct from both. But they are distinct and yet united; the properties of each nature are preserved entire.
This is a mystery, but also the power of God; the Creator and the creature are miraculously allied in the same being. God of unmixed blessedness is linked personally with a man of perpetual sorrows. Again, “The Word became flesh” (John 1:14). While many say this is impossible, I say no. The problem lies in their concept of Him. That is, their God is “too small” for there is nothing impossible to Him, the Almighty, the One who speaks.
Our words may have power to hurt or bless others because this is the nature of words. When the God who created all things, including words, speaks, it happens. When He commands, whatever He says stands firm.