The Power Of Your Words

Early in our marriage, my mother-in-law scolded Kelley and me because we were overly negative with each other. “Watch what you say,” she lectured us. And she was right. After changing the way we spoke with each another, our marriage surprisingly improved.

To an extent, the words that surround us are performative.  In other words, the words we listen to affect certain outcomes in our lives. If you tell your daughter that she’ll never amount to anything, the chances are much greater than average that she’ll grow up believing she’s a failure. If I look at myself in the mirror every day and say, “You’re an idiot,”  eventually my words will sink in.

The Power of Words On Water Crystals

Dr. Masaru Emoto, a researcher in Japan, conducted experiments on the relationship between words and thoughts in the formation of water crystals.

He began by drawing polluted water from the Fujiwara Dam. After freezing a specimen on a Petri dish, he examined the water crystal under a microscope and observed that it didn’t resemble any particular molecular structure. But in a separate Petri dish, he prayed a blessing over the murky water, froze it, and crystals appeared as ornate as those formed from pristine spring waters in Japan.

Next, he printed positive and negative messages, taped them to bottles of distilled water, and then froze them overnight. Crystals grown in bottles with written messages like “Love and Appreciation” and “Thank you” taped on the outside resulted in beautiful, translucent, complex structures.

But the sample from the bottle with the message “Adolf Hitler” resulted in very under-formed crystals. Interestingly enough, the message “You make me sick, I will kill you” written on the side, resulted in no crystal formation at all. Praying for the water from a different location affected the results of crystal formation just as dramatically—regardless of distance.

Here’s the kicker: the average person is composed of approximately 60% water. Imagine the affect that television shows, movies, music, and our friends have on us. Greater still, imagine how what we say about ourselves affects us.  More than we’d like to admit.

In The Beginning Was The Word

Emoto’s further studies demonstrated that spoken words resulted in the same outcome. Dr. Emoto, a Buddhist, comments:

This principle is what I think makes swearing and slang words destructive. These words are not in accordance with the laws of nature. So, for example, I think you would probably find higher rates of violent crime in areas where a lot of negative language is being used. Just as the Bible says, first there was the Word, and God created all of Creation from the Word.

Scripture bears out Dr. Emoto’s premise. When you “confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). Your words carry spiritual and eternal implications and changes.

We also read that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11). In the Hebrew understanding, invoking the name of Jesus meant invoking his manifest presence.

Our words are indeed powerful. How will you choose to use them today?

Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado with Eugene Scott. He’s trying to break the habit of calling himself an idiot. Portions of this blog post are an excerpt from Michael’s book Strange Fire, Holy Fire (Bethany House 2009).


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7 responses to “The Power Of Your Words

  1. Georgie-ann

    Acts 3:6 “Then Peter said, ‘Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.'”

    Zechariah 4:6 “Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, ‘This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.'”

    “Cream rises to the top.” Crystals are beautiful,…and spiritual conditions — (“invisible” to the eye) — surrounding them have an influence on their beauty and ability to form. How precise and also delicate and sensitive are the dynamics of the “order of the universe.” How rude, intrusive and inappropriate, is the pollution of disrespect and mockery, hatred and animosity, to the essential dignity and balance of creative forces and life.

    As you say, a conscious and intentional choice is involved in selecting which way we will join in, in the process of making our own inescapable and personal daily contributions to the ongoing flow — and for better or worse.

    By common observation, it appears that a “default setting” takes over when humans begin to run on a generalized “automatic pilot,” eschewing important considerations of wise judgment, good advice, and self-control. This spawns an ever-widening slippery slope of ease, self pleasing and sloth, which spirals downward, indiscriminate and inclusive of many contradictory elements. That a selective realm of pristine beauty and purity is thereby muddied, slandered and sacrificed without awareness, remorse or mercy, is deemed “an imaginary fairy tale” at best, and “outright insanity” at worst.

    One thing I especially appreciate about the Catholic Church is that it does delineate many factors that apply to the acknowledgement and intentional preservation of this special life-giving realm. It is also quite realistic about the need to clean off the “muddiness” that accumulates in our lives, simply through the process of living, both inwardly and outwardly. Holding up the exceptional qualities of beloved saints to learn from and emulate; offering the opportunities of confession, forgiveness, reconciliation, restoration and blessing; providing the blessed oils and holy water as available sacramentals; in addition to reverence for the Holy Word of God, and a multitude of historical testimonies in art and architecture of “inspired” works which transcend our “usual” in awe-inspiring ways; the faithfulness of servants, and so on,…in these ways and many more, this long-enduring Church has groaned throughout the centuries under the weight of the “sin” of this world, (as do we all), but continually holds on to the higher vision and holds out teaching and hope that if we “do not faint” we shall indeed someday “inherit these (beautiful) promises.”

    Hebrews 6:11,12

    11 “And we desire that each one of you may show the same diligence unto the fulness of hope even to the end:

    12 “that ye be not sluggish, but imitators of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

    Galatians 6:8,9

    8 ” … he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

    9 “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

    Ephesians 5:

    25 ” … Christ … loved the church, and gave himself up for it;

    26 “that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word,

    27 “that he might present the church to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

    They tell us: “All Truth is parallel.” What a magnificent demonstration of this, is this Buddhist professor’s experiment! This picture is indeed worth a thousand words! “Seeing is believing,” and all that,…your book, “Strange Fire, Holy Fire” is to be recommended also!

  2. Can’t say that I don’t disagree with you, Georgie-ann. I’m amazed at a Buddhist professor’s acknowledgement of the Christian faith. I love that: “all truth is parallel.”

    Thanks Georgie-ann!

    • Georgie-ann

      Growing up in Kentucky, I often heard, “If you can’t say anything nice, just don’t say anything at all.” As this was a generally accepted paradigm for living, back there and back then, it kept a lot of verbal pollution out of the atmosphere,…and life sure did seem sweeter,…’specially even those skeeters around the honeysuckle vines,…(-:

      This topic also reminds me of the process of the purifying/refining of gold as being similar to our process of choosing and living a path that leads us spiritually to God’s Kingdom,…without God we can do nothing, but so much depends on our own choices as well!

      Zechariah 13:9 “And I will bring the third part into the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried. They shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people; and they shall say, Jehovah is my God.”

      Revelation 3:18 “I counsel thee to buy of me gold refined by fire, that thou mayest become rich; and white garments, that thou mayest clothe thyself, and that the shame of thy nakedness be not made manifest; and eyesalve to anoint thine eyes, that thou mayest see.”

      God Bless!

      • Georgie-ann

        1 Peter 1:6-9

        6 “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.”

        Whatever else we gain by enduring the “light afflictions” that we experience in this life, be they “accidental” or personally intentionally inflicted, we learn that this life is definitely made up of mixed-bag (good and evil) potentials.

        2 Corinthians 4:16-18 [Seeing the Invisible]

        16 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

        We either muddle on through it, as if everything is some kind of inescapable “given” that we must accept and deal with, dragging it all along with us — including our pressurized attitudes of resentment, anger, retaliation, helplessness, hopelessness, resulting devious coping mechanisms, and on and on — or we are relieved to find out that “an enemy” has sown these noxious weeds in our midst, which are basically intruding on the correct plan. News of our rescue and salvation from this fairly obvious mess is received with joy and gladness! Our lives are NOT intended to be played out as if all the options set before us are basically equal in viability and importance. Everything is NOT simply a bunch of “equal opportunity choices,” all thrown together on one level playing field.

        We actually face Good and Evil, and if we are blessed, we’ll prefer the Good side of the equation. Adhering to our best guide, the Word of God, we can learn many ways to avoid unsavory negatives and even give evil options “the slip,” which is pretty much a fun thing to do, when you get better at it. “Practice — (and diligence and a firm intention, with the help of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit) — makes perfect!”

        Keeping our eye on the prize, knowing there is a challenge set before us, we endeavor to remain positive in our faith:

        Philippians 3:12-14 [Pressing Toward the Goal]

        12 “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”


    • Georgie-ann

      The power of our words,…or even the power of our thoughts,…and what they reveal,…

      Luke 6:45 “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

      Considering agreeing and/or disagreeing about things,…I’m very aware that succinct generalizations about any complex subjects are limited in their ability to “cover all the bases,”…and given the potential for endless “he said she said they said” arguments and comparisons, I would not be trying to do that in most such cases,…rather, I sometimes like to make a few points along lines that may not be particularly familiar to some, or may customarily be poorly represented in popular thought circles,…I would only be attempting to share my particular “truth” or perspective on such an issue, in the event that it might contain some bits of interest to whomever may not have considered such a point of view as having legitimate viability,…since I do take most things pretty seriously, I feel it’s important to represent honestly what one values and stands for,…but not really as an argument,…we all see things from the vantage points of many differing life experiences!

  3. I remember attending a college course, where we discussed our experiences as foreigners in America. One thing she said completely stuck to me, and I still remember thinking about the truth behind her statement:

    “It takes 1,000 compliments to get rid of 1 negative comment about yourself.”

    Sometimes, I think that people put each other down too much as if it is not normal to be different. Why is that? I mean, if you take a look around on the Internet, in our news, our schools…We are often so negative about things! I believe in the good of human nature, but that doesn’t mean I don’t see the bad as well. Are we becoming desensitized to human feelings and negative thoughts? I mean, is it easier for us to criticize others rather than consider how they may feel when we do so?

    I of course don’t presume everyone does this, and I believe there are many people out there who are compassionate and kind to others. However, the majority of people out there, from my experience, feel that it is alright to say something derogatory or treat someone unkindly, no matter the consequences (look around the Youtube channel~you won’t believe some of the things people say!). I even see this with teachers, who are supposedly trying to help children become better citizens (I know because I am a teacher as well.). College professors also seem to forget that we are human before we are students and that our feelings can be hurt from various criticisms. I respect honesty, but don’t we go a bit too far with that sometimes? Or is it because of our culture, which cries for independence and freedom of speech rather than humanity and respect?

    I don’t know, and I will never assume that I have a correct interpretation of the world and how things are supposed to be done as I don’t think that there is a specific, right way to do things. However, I wish that people will take the time to practice empathy. The world will definitely be a much better place.

    Lovely video!! I support this 100%! 🙂

    • Thanks for your comments, Mina. I think the Internet has actually caused us to treat people even more rudely than we have in the past. We can hide behind our computer screens without facing the people we demean.

      Again, thank you for your thoughtful insights.


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