Careless Words (Part 2)

Susan Hetrick

Read: James 3:9-12

With [the tongue] we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. (v. 9)

As human beings we are created in God’s image, and God pronounced that “very good” (Gen. 1:31). Yet we are bombarded with pictures—through television, magazines, and online—that depict an unattainable standard of physical beauty. The average female fashion model is a size 2, but the average American woman is a size 14. The media depicts the ideal male body as extremely muscular, with chiseled abs, zero body fat, and a full head of hair. Many Americans see thousands of advertisements every day that insist we fight aging, lose weight, and appear perfect. Unfortunately, what we see in the mirror cannot match what the media insists we should look like.

People become disappointed with their own bodies and say things like: “I hate my thighs” (or shoulders, stomach, derriere, etc.), “I am fat and disgusting,” “I am not good enough,” “I will never measure up,” or “I am ugly.” These negative words have a cumulative effect, and can result in dangerous behaviors—extreme dieting, steroid use, or cosmetic surgery—in an attempt to achieve an impossible standard.

Our negative words have the power of a curse. By carelessly denigrating our own bodies (or others’), we are cursing what God has called very good! This should not be, James wrote. We are created in God’s image. Our bodies are a gift and should be well cared-for, appreciated, and treasured.

—Susan Hetrick

God, help me see myself as you do.