Bill is an outdoors-man; a hunter and fisherman that is always ready to get out into the wild. He is a friend and former church member. But Bill had a mental impression that haunted him from childhood.
As a young boy, Bill’s mother had told him that if he ever got stung by a scorpion he would die. This impressed him as fact for his entire life and he gladly avoided any contact with the creepy critter, as most of us do.
(There are actually over 1700 species of scorpions and a small percentage of them are deadly. Most are not; the most venomous being in Mexico.)
One day Bill and a friend were fishing on the bank of a creek in East Texas. Bill casually reached down to pick up some fishing tackle and laid his hand on a scorpion, which immediately took offense and stung him.
Panicking, he screamed as he gazed at the “fatal” wound. His fishing buddy, startled, asked him what seemed to be the problem. Bill said, “I’ve been stung by a scorpion!” His friend nonchalantly looked Bill’s way, cast his line back into the water and said in an unconcerned voice, “Oh, OK.” Bill answered, “But I’ve been stung by a scorpion!” Well, the angler friend said, “OK” a second time and this was just too much for Bill to handle. He was going to die and his friend had no compassion at all and would rather fish than help him in his distress!
So Bill hastily and indignantly packed up his fishing gear, threw it in the car and headed home. Upon arrival, his wife said, “Why are you home so early?” Bill’s desperate explanation, of course was, “I was stung by a scorpion!” Bill never expected to hear the same reply from his wife as he had heard from his fishing buddy, but sure enough it was there again, “Oh, OK.”
Unable to handle this extreme stress and disappointment in two people who were the closest to him being indifferent to his need, Bill was frustrated and alone with his own passing. Desperate for relief, he retired to his bedroom and laid down, thinking he would surely die.
Certain he was on the way out of this world, he thought, “I’ll go to bed. At least if I’m going to die I can die in the comfort of my own bed.” Sure enough, Bill fell asleep, exhausted and emotionally drained by these dreadful events.
When he awoke, he immediately noticed there was no pain and he couldn’t even see the place where the dastardly beast had struck him. He can laugh at himself today, but that was certainly a stressful day for my friend.
I know you’re thinking this is a ridiculous story and a grown man should know better than to think a scorpion sting could cause death. But it is another pointed tale of how our words can affect someone for life. How much distress could be avoided if everyone would choose their words carefully and use words of encouragement rather than of fear?