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).