A while ago I lived over a crack addict who was also a prostitute. Her name was Loretta and she made my life hell. She hated me and made no bones about it. One day, while on one of her rants she began to talk about how much she hated me. She said, and I quote, " I don't like her style. I don't like the way she carries herself. I don't like the way she talks, I don't like the way she sings." Although Loretta did her best to drive me as crazy as she was, I have to admit, I couldn't help but appreciate her honesty. . . she didn't lie to herself or anyone else about why she had an issue with me. That's more than I can say for most people I've been in conflict with over the years. . .
I remember being told as a child, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." But as an adult I have to say I've found those words to ring insanely hollow. Over the last 41 years of my life I have witnessed the destruction words, and more precisely gossip, can render. I have seen them bring political campaigns to a screetching halt. I have seen them split churches and destroy ministries, I have seen them divide families and break up couples. I have witnessed job loss and alienation, mental illness and suicide attempts, all due to the destructive power of words.
I think not.
I believe they can be one of the most harmful forces on earth. They wound us, yet leave us alive to bear the acute pain left in their wake. They can bring about a hemorrhage within our emotions that can bleed indefinitely.