Spiritually Speaking: Thick Skinned

Since childhood, we are taught to let offenses slide “like water off a duck’s back” and told repeatedly “sticks and stones can break our bones, but words will never hurt us.”

These common expressions we grew up hearing were intended to encourage us to be resilient and unhindered by others; and it’s true, we should be mature and not sweat the petty stuff. 

Yet as much as we would like to pretend that nothing bothers us, let’s face it: sometimes comments and remarks against our weak points can make us want to crawl under a rock forever. 

Everyone has a limit.

The wisest man in history knew our words hold a greater impact than we realize, as he states in Proverbs 18:21 (KJV), “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…”

Harsh words may not literally break our bones, but they’ll definitely break our spirits.

Many times we assume someone is tough enough to take the hits and always be the target of our jokes. However, as it’s been said, all teasing is ninety-nine percent truthful. After a while, people may start believing what they are constantly told and may never think it possible to rise above the standards others have set for them.

Jesus spoke in Mark 3:25, if a house is divided, it cannot stand, especially if its members have built up hurt feelings or complexes and cannot turn to each other in a time of need.

Likewise, how can we be a family in Christ if we’re tearing each other a part, even unintentionally? Gossip and teasing insults can add up and cause distrust among individuals, but as James 3:10 (KJV) admonishes, “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” 

As believers, we should help shield our brothers’ and sisters’ faults instead of exposing them. Most of us are well-aware of our flaws; still, we hope others will be sensitive and accept us in spite of them. If Jesus can love us and overlook our imperfections, then we have no excuse but to follow His example and treat each other the same way.

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