"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Whoever said that was either terribly naive or a liar, liar pants on fire!
Few things are more powerful than the words we speak. They can launch wars, ruin marriages, split churches, end friendships, and destroy the self-esteem of a child. The words spoken to Job by his so-called friends tore him to pieces. That's why he cried out, "How long will you torment me and crush me with words" (Job 19:2).
James compares the tongue to a horse's bit, a ship's rudder, fire and poison. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but a careless word really hurts.