Published on: September 22, 2016


Words can hurt; words can heal

By Christina Olka

Freedom Director, South Bay Church,

Words have cosmic value. They have the power to bring life or bring death into conversations, identities and dreams.  Someone once told me “sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt me.”

They lied to me.

In the words of a famous philosopher, simply put, words “cut me deep, Shrek.” (Donkey)

Words have the power to cut through all confidence and shatter a person, yet they also hold the power to empower and build up confidence. Perhaps that is the problem with our world — we have lived with the belief that cursing things will make things better. We see it all the time: When frustration comes, so does our cursing.

When I moved to the Tampa Bay area I found that traffic consumed more of my energy than I cared for it to. I’ve seen destructive words acting as the number one way we have handled bad drivers on the road, yet we continue to see an increase in road rage, accidents and traffic problems.

We have all found ourselves discontent with workplaces, government laws or relationships. Yet in those moments, solutions speak louder than grumblings.  Peace speaks louder than discord and gossip. It’s easier to swallow, digest and to gain nourishment from.

Cursing is beyond a derogatory word — it’s any word that steals life from someone else. It is a fair assumption to make that a large majority of people have not reached the age of 18 without having been wounded by a word.  We pass words around like they are candy, not thinking about the decay that they have the potential to cause.

To evaluate the hurtful words spoken to you takes courage and bravery.

Some words have come from people who hardly know you, while others have come from those closest to you. You are not alone if you carry those wounds with you. The words that wound have been used to stab at your identity, your hopes and your dreams.

My challenge is that instead of repeating the cycle of cursing things, people and situations, that we move to use words to heal, bless and give hope. It may start with choosing not to speak at all when you curse naturally. Or even greater, it may start when you choose to speak good in the face of circumstances that feel far less than good.

Freedom teaching: “Words.” Every Monday night from 6:30 to 8 p.m., through Oct. 10 at South Bay Church, 13498 U.S. 301 S, Riverview. Join us for a teaching and small group focus to heal words that wound. To learn more about the Freedom Ministry or South Bay Church, visit