I'm rubber, you're glue. Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you!
When we were kids, we used to say this rhyme when someone called us a bad name.
It was one of those invincible defenses against any type of attack.
It was much better than a different phrase that we also often used.
This one went like this:
Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.
Both of these rhymes had the same purpose. They intended to show the bully that you refuse to be affected by their insults.
The problem with the second is that words really do hurt us, and probably even more than sticks and stones.
Words define us and condemn us. They haunt us and paralyze us.
But the first rhyme has a slightly different way to defend against bad words. It admits the power of words to hurt, but uses a creative defense to portray a timeless principle.
You reap what you sow.
When I choose to be rubber, none of your words can have influence in my life. I refuse it. But you're glue. When you use those bad words, you will reap the same bad words you spout against me. They will come back against you. Thus, you reap what you sow. If you reap bad words, you will sow bad words (to yourself).
To not only say this rhyme, but to actually believe it, frees us from the fear of man.
Jesus said not to fear the one who can only kill the body, but to fear the One who can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna.
Let me illustrate this with a story.
When I was traveling through Taitung, I started walking up the mountainside in search of a hiking trail. It was a long and steep road and there was no civilization of any kind for a long while.
Then suddenly, a house appeared, and in the distance I heard a dog barking. In a place with few people, I knew I had to be very careful since some dogs can be very aggressive.
As I continued along the path, more dogs came into view. I saw that each of them was chained up against a different tree, probably six or seven in all, and as I approached, they barked with such intense ferocity that it froze me in my tracks.
I was waiting for one to burst out of the forest so I can run back down the mountain, but as I slowly whimpered past, not one approached me beyond the length of their chain.
I was afraid of these dogs because I knew they could hurt me, but after coming back down the mountain later on, that fear left me. I realized that they were all chained up and they couldn't come onto the road no matter how hard they tried.
These chained up dogs were like the devil's threats. They were like the bullies bad words. And when you realize they are chained up, there's nothing to fear. We have the authority and ability to chain up every accusation and threat that comes against us, and the best part is that God owns that chain and no amount of ferocity or force can break it.
Once you chain up the enemy's words against you, you are free from fear to walk in peace.