Sticks & Stones & Chocolate

Pastoral Messages | February 14, 2019

Today is February 14. Do you have an open bag of chocolate sitting next to you, too? I do. Advertising geniuses around the world work hard to train us to crave chocolate on Valentine’s Day. More often than not, it works.

The chocolate I have on my desk right now comes from Dove. They’re one of my favorite brands – not only because the chocolate is so tasty, but because every wrapper has words printed on the inside. Most of them are messages of encouragement. You might unwrap some milk chocolate and find, “You have a great laugh!” Or maybe you open your peppermint bark and read, “It’s ok to be fabulous andflawed.” It would be hard not to smile at that. Dove is marketing something sweet with both their candy and their words.

Words have power.

You have probably heard the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” I’ve said this to myself in the face of bullies, and it offered a moment of self-affirmation. But I’m not sure that this saying is true. All of us have heard or read something that has cut deeply into our morale. Words can hurt. Words do hurt.

Again, words have power. Take them seriously and use them graciously. Choose words that offer the same hope, empowerment, and assurance that we find in God’s love.

If simple words from Dove can mean something even when we read them off of a tiny piece of foil, then how much more could they mean coming from someone who knows us and loves us? Think about how powerful our words can be when we are face-to-face with a friend having the worst day of their life, or a stranger who feels alone in the world.

-Josh Kestner, pastor in residency


You don’t have to be a poet. But do an inventory of your vocabulary. Invest in more words that say, “I love you.” Get rid of words that hurt. And while you’re at it, treat yourself to some chocolate (or a special gift of your choice) to remind you of that God loves you, too.

7 Comments on “Sticks & Stones & Chocolate”

  • Carol Seitzcarok

    February 20, 2019 at 9:03 pm

    Always enjoy your thoughts and words. Always learn something meaningful. You are right about chocolate too!

  • Anke Maass

    February 18, 2019 at 4:57 pm

    Love your words and thoughts

  • Kay Conrad

    February 15, 2019 at 10:00 am

    I have always loved your words, Josh. And thanks for giving me another reason to eat Dove chocolate.
    Sometimes I forget to look for the message.
    Your grandmother

  • Sheila Mesick

    February 14, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    We have a friend in common. When you have a conversation with her, your words lift her spirit. I am thankful.

  • David DeWit

    February 14, 2019 at 3:17 pm

    The special words for today are,”Keep it up, Josh. You’re doing a great job!”

  • Paula McPherson

    February 14, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    As a teacher I always made an extra effort to use my words to heal, help ease distress and to encourage my students. What I have always found to be most telling was the responses, both facial and verbal, that I received. They told it all. Choose your words carefully and use them to help boost a person to a level you might never know. Well spoken Josh.

  • Stella Herzig

    February 14, 2019 at 2:24 pm

    Thanks for your words of encouragement!

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