Monday, January 9, 2012

Broadsides and Swords can break your bones but names can never hurt you!

Do you remember that old saying when you were a kid? Well, maybe the one you heard didn't say Broadsides and Swords, but sticks and stones. Regardless, I always thought it was pretty lame. I mean who were they kidding? I'd much rather be physically hurt than be called a name.  I guess I was just sensitive to it because I was one of those kids everybody picked on.  I was the pimple-faced nerd who was so shy, I could hardly speak in public. Yes, I know, I've come a long way since then. Now, you can't shut me up! 

However, even now in adulthood, most of us suffer beneath the onslaught of a few names. Whether it's people at school or work, friends, or family members, we inevitably find ourselves being labeled by other's opinions. Hopefully, most of these "name-callers" will be well intentioned, their only desire to bring to light a behavior they think needs changing. (Thanks, but who asked them?)  But there will be those who, either in a fit of anger, or just because they don't like us, will use some rather derogatory terms. 

Rest assured, you are not alone. Even the great King David suffered from name-callers in the Bible.

When King David came to Bahurim, a man of the family of the house of Saul, Shimei son of Gera, came out and cursed continually as he came. And he cast stones at David and at all the servants of King David; and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. Shimei said as he cursed, Get out, get out, you man of blood, you base fellow! The Lord has avenged upon you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead you have reigned; and the Lord has delivered the kingdom into the hands of Absalom your son. Behold, the calamity is upon you because you are a bloody man! 2 Samuel 16:5-8

Woa. Now that wasn't nice!  Here David has left his throne and his capital city, Jerusalem, and he's fleeing for his life because his son, Absalom, is trying to kill him. His own son! And here this guy comes out to fling insults (along with stones!).   Remember now, God Himself called David a man after His own heart, so not only are these insults, but they are lies.

I don't know about you but when someone calls me a name or says something about me, it makes me SO MAD! I can't seem to let it go until I prove my innocence and good character.  And here David is the King of Israel. He could do anything he wanted to this man. In fact ,one of his men suggested the following:

Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head.

David's response?
If he is cursing because the Lord said to him, Curse David, who then shall ask, Why have you done so?. . . . Behold, my son, who was born to me, seeks my life. With how much more reason now may this Benjamite do it? Let him alone; and let him curse, for the Lord has bidden him to do it. It may be that the Lord will look on the iniquity done me and will recompense me with good for his cursing this day. Samuel 16:10-12

Say what? Really? I'm with the other guy.. let's chop his head off! But not David. Yet again, he demonstrates exactly why he was a man after God's heart. His response is one of mercy and grace not revenge. But he even goes further than that. He actually states that it might be possible that God Himself wanted this man to curse David, and if so, who can thwart the plans of God?

Several things stand out to me.
First. Does God Curse people? Absolutely!  There are many Scriptural references, but here's just a few:

The Lord shall send you curses, confusion, and rebuke in every enterprise to which you set your hand, until you are destroyed, perishing quickly because of the evil of your doings by which you have forsaken me  Deuteronomy 28:20

Say to them, Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Cursed is the man who does not heed the words of this covenant or solemn pledge Jeremiah 11:3

Secondly: David's humility. Though he could have easily done so, David didn't have a high and lofty opinion of himself or his own importance.  When someone hurts us and we get angry and want revenge, it's our pride that has been pricked. If you have no pride, if you know anything good within you comes from God, then names won't hurt you.

Thirdly: David's reference and obedience to God. David would prefer to suffer insults and stones if that was God's will than not suffer them outside of God's will. Amazing. Can you say that? If God's plans for you include some suffering and pain and it was within your power to prevent it, would you be obedient to God?

And lastly, David defered to God's justice
It may be that the Lord will look on the iniquity done me and will recompense me with good for his cursing this day.
David knew that if he was being falsely accused and falsely scorned that one day God would make it right, either in this age or in the next. He trusted in God's goodness and justice and he left the incident in God's hands. 

Oh how hard that is!!  But the next time we get ridiculed or taunted, called a name, or even cursed, let us ask God to help us be more like King David!


  1. Mon Jan 9th,
    "Morning, MaryLu."
    Excellent word today ! No, I maybe haven't been called a name (that I know of anyway) ... but I'm quite sure I'm being 'talked about' and 'dissed' !
    Really feeling down today. I am so disappointed with family members, and, myself as well. Yes, I am far too sensitive about many things. Things that I shouldn't 'allow' to be bothering me. Give it to God .. and let Him deal with it. Well, I just 'feel like' running away, to some remote Island ... no phones, no computers, no people. (Yes, I'd probably like to 'chop a few heads off', too.) Gads, aren't I the "doom of gloom" this Monday morning !
    I needed this word today ... "let God's justice be done". Thanks MaryLu, for another timely Word in due season !
    Take care, and, God Bless,
    In Him, Brenda Hurley

  2. Brenda, I'm so sorry you're feeling down... Families and kid problems can drive us crazy, can't they? That's when the devil comes in and reminds us of all our failings. I know exactly what you mean. But you tell him to shut up. You are redeemed, forgiven, and being transformed into God's image. Your past is also forgiven and forgotten and God has your kids and your family in His capable hands.
    Now about that trip to a deserted island, however. When do we leave? LOL

  3. *** As soon as I can think of one I could get to, and, afford !
    I'll keep you posted !
    Take care, and, God Bless,
    In Him, Brenda Hurley

  4. MaryLu, this fit in so well with the Sunday School lesson I did yesterday. We were talking about the lies we are told in this life. Any harmful words that people say to us are all lies. God loves us all, unconditionally, no matter who we are or what we do. I also made the point that we don't know what someone is going through in their lives, so we must pray for them when they act out in a bad way. Some are wounded and expressing their anger or fear; others are just plain mean. In either case, only God knows what is in the heart, so we need to pray for them. And we must never, ever believe the lies. Thanks for the confirmation. :)

  5. ohhhh this is a hard one-especially for me. I'm the girl that had the large bra size in middle school, and because of that, called all sorts of names-by people who didn't even know me!!! I was always shy until I heard some of those insults. I guess I kind of gave them a piece of my mind. Not exactly Christian-like, eh? But I'm learning. Baby steps-ish. This is like God telling me to stick duck tape on my mouth! A very good reminder, and I thank you for it! :D

  6. Debbie, so true! I grew up believing so many lies about myself and because I didn't know the Lord, I believed them all. The result was a beaten-down, insecure, love-craved girl headed down a very dangerous path. God Bless your work with these young lives. I wished I had someone like you to tell me the truth when I was young. :-)
    Eszter, I'm so sorry kids have teased you. It's so hard to go through that. Even as an adult! Yelling back is completely normal and human. I've done a bit of shouting myself.. which I regret, especially things I've said. But sometimes in some cases, God wants us to speak up. We just have to learn the difference. Hey, we are all a work in progres... baby steps, indeed!

  7. MaryLu,
    Thank you so much for this post. This has been a struggle for me as well, since I was young. I'm pretty thin-skinned when it comes to having someone insult me. Something that has helped though, a dear friend recently posted on their web site that when another person says something nasty about you or to you, to pray for them. I've been trying to do that more because I really do feel better afterward. Great word today! :)


  8. I'm thin-skinned too, Angi, so I know just what you mean. And praying for those who hurt us is a great way to defuse our own anger and please God. Hugs

  9. I didn't know which reaction to click on. It was a mix. Off with his head! lol.
    No really this is important. I see insults everyday at school. Myself, I don't mind people insulting me, I used to. I used to cry, get angry, retaliate, wish them ill...but now I just simply don't care. Their opinion of me doesn't matter. Now if it was my parents, friend, pastor--someone whose opinions matter to me, then I would care. But these kids at school seek only to please themselves, with no thought as to what God wills for them. So if they're insulting me, I couldn't care less. My brother called me a f****** whore yesterday. But I didn't care. So either I'm emotionless--I assure you, no--or people with no understanding opinion's don't affect me. I'll take it! =D
    -Rebekkah xD

  10. Rebekkah, you are a far stronger woman than I am! When I was young, I always got so upset when other kids picked on me. I'm better now that I'm older, but sometimes it still hurts. Why is your brother saying such a horrible thing? I'm so sorry!! Family should never treat each other like that. I'll pray for him.

  11. @ Rebekkah: I can't believe that your own brother would say that! Brothers are supposed to be protectors, not breakers. I'm glad that people's opinions don't matter to you-cause like MaryLu showed in the post, its God's opinion that really and ultimately matters. I'll be praying for you girl :)

  12. Oh yeah, I'd much rather take a hit upside the head than suffer a verbal lashing. Good thing Jesus did both for us, eh?

  13. You betcha, my crazy writer friend! Words are so much more damaging than fists... Hope you are doing well!

  14. MaryLu, I used to care SOOOO much. But now I don't care at all. I'm really greatful for that.
    Oh he calls me names all the time when he gets upset. But I definitely am not a whore--virgin.
    But I pray for him and thank you for praying.
    Amen, Griep!

  15. MaryLu, what a wonderful post! I know I'm late in reading it, but it is really helpful. While I haven't had a lot of people call me names, I've had people blame me for things that weren't my fault, or accuse me of things that are absolutely ridiculous. And that hurts. And I feel like I have to prove them wrong, but sometimes you just can't, and I feel like they've won somehow. I know I need to handle those situations better, but it is REALLY hard. I'll try to remember what you've written here from now on.

  16. Glad it helped, Sarah. I have the same problem. I can't stand it when I get blamed for something I didn't do or didn't say or mean!!!! Infuriating!! It's so hard to just let it go and let God take care of it. Believe me, I haven't mastered it either.. a WIP, we all are.

  17. Wow, I was sitting here trying to figure out what WIP meant... But I finally got it. Work in progress :) And yes, we are.