taking the swords out of words

~ sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me

It has taken me a long time to not disregard that rhyme as just plain wrong. Words, never hurt? What about the pen being mightier than the sword? Harsh words can wound us to our very cores. You can remove a sword but you cannot unhear words.

No, I always thought, "Words hurt like hell!" and for that reason have long dismissed forgiveness as a disingenuous attempt to let something go when in reality it is killing us.  First we heal, I thought, and when it stops hurting, then we can forgive, truly forgive.

But I am changing my mind. I still believe there is a lot of fake forgiveness out there, and that it is better to heal organically by feeling our pain, telling our stories and getting a "hearing" which validates our suffering, than to feign forgiveness through gritted teeth.  But now I believe we can dodge and remove the swords through forgiveness.

We live in a world where words are used like swords to argue, prove, debate and sell.  We are always fighting!  When someone offends us, we pick up the sword and fight.  But what if we didn't?

Luke 1:20-21 reads, "You will be silent until the child is born". God took speech away from Zechariah when he doubted his wife had conceived a child. Zechariah could have ranted and raved, and poured all his energy into that, but the child would be born or it would not be. God did him a favour.

Saying and doing nothing is acting without reacting, engaging a situation by disengaging, making peace. With silence we disarm the voices in our heads and enmity in the world.  As the swords drop from our words, we not only make peace, we find it, no longer captive of others' actions and our reactions.

Originally forgive meant simply to give totally, with all one's heart, and it applied to good things like marriage as well as bad things like legal offenses. Give. Forgive. Save your breath, and make peace.

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