The Dumbest Words I've Ever Heard


I have the absolute grossest story to share in illustrating the focus point of this post.

It was Tuesday December 12, 2017.  I was on my third, okay, possibly could have been my fourth, cup of coffee.  To picture how this story unfolded I need to tell you that I only put cream in my coffee on the weekends.  It’s a small approach to cut calories.  Therefore, during the week I drink my coffee black.  That’s an important piece to keep in mind.

So there I was carrying my coffee in hand from room-to-room, “buzzing” around, (that’s a key word), putting laundry away as quickly as I could.   I still had to unload the dishwasher and clean up the kitchen from the breakfast-rush-and-lunch-packing-hour that had just taken place before getting into the office for my workday writing.

I grabbed my cup of coffee and took another swig. 

The thought ewwww, there are grounds in this coffee, crossed my mind.  I leaned over my bathroom sink to spit them out.  Only it wasn’t coffee grounds.  It was a fly!!!!

Oh.  My.  Goodness!!!! 

I started screaming out loud!  Seriously!

Then I started rinsing my mouth out with water and then Listerine, all while just about dry heaving as I gagged at what just happened.

This was DECEMBER!!!!  Who would have ever thought a fly would land in my coffee in DECEMBER?!?!?!  GROSS!!!

Of course I didn’t even see it because of my dark coffee, but honestly, why would I have even thought to look?

Maybe if I hadn’t been blowing and going with my daily chore routine, I would have noticed it, but again… A FLY IN DECEMBER!  Aren’t they all supposed to be dead by December?

Well, this fly was dead.  I think.  I was too traumatized in the moment to really take note as I rinsed it down the sink drain completely DISGUSTED that I had just spit a fly out of my mouth!!!

A FLY!!!

Oh my word.  I just can’t even.  It was so disgusting.

But you know, I’ve spit something even more detestable out of my mouth before this fly-in-my-coffee moment.

Really?  You’re probably thinking.  I mean what could be worse than a fly?!?!?


I have spit some words right out of my mouth and not been the least bit appalled by them.  Not the least.  No gagging response.  No Listerine intervention.  Not a thought actually.

Words however, can be far more detrimental. Words outlast even the one who speaks them.  Words can cause wounds that never heal.  Ever. 

It’s why the dumbest words I’ve ever heard are:

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.

Garbage.  Rubbish.

For over a decade now I’ve shared a message with elementary school students titled Value One Another.  It’s an anti-bully, character building presentation and it was developed from my experiences returning to school after Jon and I had our accident. 

In the past thirty years I have never been able to repeat some of the names kids have called me.  I was seven years old, and then eight and then nine, and even into my teenage years, receiving painful pings from the words of children.  I have literally had my flesh repeatedly ripped from bandage changes, but have carried more hurt from those words than the temporary physical pain I’ve endured.

I feel it’s more accurate to say:

Sticks and stones may break my bones and words could always hurt me.

So we need to weigh them carefully before spitting them out.  Like the tube of toothpaste, once they come out, we can never put them back in.  One of the dads in our small group shared with us how he illustrated the permanence and detriment of words with his son.  There had been one too many times his son would spout off words and then tack on a hallow apology.  So the dad grabbed a plate, took the son outside and instructed him to throw it down on the pavement.  The boy didn’t want to, but conceded. 

The plate shattered.  When the dad asked him if he could put it back together it was obvious he couldn’t.  That’s what can happen with our words.

It was a conversation we had with our children not too long ago.  They had used their words that cause hurt in another.  Yes.  My children.  I believe it hurt my heart as much, if not more, than the one they directed their conversation toward.

When called to the table regarding the matter, they began to explain that their words came in response to what was already being spoken.  Wouldn’t that be understandable?  I guess maybe so.  I mean we can all relate to firing back, can’t we?  However, there is a better approach for those moments. And that approach has the potential to grow us beyond our human nature into more of who God wants us to be.

“Conversation is like a bucket,” I began to explain to them.  “Everyone chooses what they want to put in that bucket.  And no matter what someone puts in, we are called to put in love and kindness.”

As that instruction came out of my mouth, I knew without a doubt it was from the leading of the Holy Spirit, because it challenged my heart equally as much while I was speaking it.

Remember, I’ve spouted off.  I’ve fired back.  I have put some words in the conversation bucket that weren’t anything close to loving and kind.

Hawk Nelson has an awesome song titled Words.  I encourage you to take a moment, click on the link below and listen to the entire song, reading the powerful lyrics.  But here is just a stanza that is a fitting prayer for our heart,

Let my words be life
Let my words be truth
I don't wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to You

When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
    but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. Proverbs 10:19 ESV

The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent. Exodus 14:14 ESV

If you would like more information on the school presentation I mentioned in this post, please visit our speaker page located on this link:




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