What You Say Matters

And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him. Luke 1:66 King James Version

Two days ago when I was at the store, I saw a precious little baby who was probably one month old. When I looked at him, he immediately started smiling at me, clapped his hands, kicked his feet and started laughing. He got excited and happy because someone was paying attention to him. How sad and tragic it is that when children grow older, we stop paying as much attention to them as we did when they were little. Sometimes we turn on the television and let the television become our babysitters so that we can do the things we want to do and not be bothered all day with the children. The thought came to me “This little baby is already acting like a missionary because I see the kindness of Jesus in his face”.

What Transforms Tender Hearts to Hard Hearts?
What happens to make these precious tender hearted and sweet babies turn into people who end up with hard hearts, become criminals and possibly even end up on death row? There has to be a reason that they stop loving people and start hating people. I believe it is because as they grow older and people begin to criticize them for everything that they do and say harsh and sarcastic things to them that their confidence begins to fade. They become suspicious of everyone and they stop trying to do nice things for others. I believe that they think what is the use of trying anymore as I will just be criticized again.

WhenDiscouragement Sets In

Some of them become so discouraged that they think about committing suicide. Some of them do try to kill themselves, and the horror of it is that some of these people succeed and they die a lonely and painful death. I think that all of those hateful, degrading, harsh, judgmental, critical and sarcastic words kill the kindness and goodness in these dear precious children just as if someone had pointed a gun at their hearts and shot them. Then people start telling them that they will never be able to accomplish anything worth while in their lives because they are stupid and don’t have anything to contribute. This causes these precious little children to stop trusting people and they start burying the pain and verbal abuse in their hearts. They become frightened to reach out to people because of the terror and heartaches they have already endured.

Some of these people have endured horrors, pain and an agony that they probably have never told anyone about because of the fear of rejection and of being hurt again. I personally know someone whose dad told her that if she ever told anyone what he did to her that he would kill her. He not only said cruel things to her, he also tied her to the bed and raped her time and time again when she was a little child living at home. Many of these children who become hard hearted were abused many times not only verbally when they were children, but also sexually, physically and emotionally.

What You Say Matters
Several of my teachers told me when I was a little child that I was stupid and would probably never be able to learn anything. That certainly didn’t help my self confidence. In fact, it caused me to retreat into a wall of silence to keep from being criticized and hurt. Several people told me when I was growing up that I was fat and ugly and that I didn’t deserve to be happy. I eventually became so discouraged and depressed that I ended up in a mental hospital because I had no desire to live and wanted to kill myself. Thank God that He doesn’t love us any less because people have told us that we are fat and ugly!

These children believe that they are unloved, unwanted and that nobody cares if they live or die. I think that because they were told all of their lives that they are too stupid to hold down a job that they are unable to find a job that pays well and if they do find one, they are unable to keep the job due to lack of self confidence.

Every person that these children meet contributes to their lives in some way, either in a positive way or in a negative way. One day all of us will stand before a Holy God and give an account of the way we have treated children. Please don’t hurt them. Hug them with your words and actions. Tell them that they are loved and wanted. Send them a message by your words and actions that they do have a right to be happy and that they are not stupid.

It is not just the parents and teachers who are responsible for children; it is everyone’s responsibility to let these precious little children know that they are loved and wanted by the way we treat them and the things that we say to them. They need to know that someone cares about them. Are you smiling at children and most important are you telling them that Jesus loves them? Do they see Jesus in your smiles and do they feel the love of Jesus for them in your hugs? Please, please, please don’t hurt these precious children!