WORDS: the power of life and death

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with words. I remember being a kid reading things like Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein, wanting to be able to make words fit together the way they could. I loved learning vocabulary in school, and in fifth grade I won the Sealy Elementary School spelling bee.

I knew there was an art to forming words together in a way that painted pictures in the minds of humanity, and I wanted to learn how to do that. Something in me, even as a kid, knew that a spoken word could bring life or death, a written word could leave a timeless legacy, and a word sang in beautiful melody could move hearts in ways that nothing else could.

Lately God has been teaching me a lot about the power in our words. He’s been teaching me that there’s power in our words, because there’s power in His words, and we are made in His image and likeness.

I started asking God this summer where my love for words and stories comes from, and a lot of times when I start asking questions about where something began, I end up finding answers literally in the beginning — the creation story.

I read somewhere not long ago about a study on subatomic particles, and how scientists had found that the only thing about the very smallest part of an atom they’ve been able to identify is that it resembles a sound wave.

Could the origin of all of creation really be sound? Of course it could. God spoke everything into existence in the beginning. Even science points the beginning of everything towards the Creator.

So what does this mean about the words we speak? It says in Proverbs 18:21 that life and death are in the power of the tongue. I think sometimes it’s easy to read a proverb and think in metaphors and kind of loosely hold on to its truth, but this one is pretty literal.

If you haven’t seen Masaru Emoto’s Rice Experiment, I encourage you to YouTube it and watch it. It’s fascinating. (There are a lot of them out there, but this one has a good explanation of the experiment at the beginning.)

Basically he takes two different containers of cooked rice, and over something like a few months, he speaks positively to one of the containers each day, and negatively to the other. At the end of the experiment, the positive rice looks very similar to the way it did in the beginning, and the negative rice is molded.

Water molecules are manipulated and deformed by the negative words, thus causing the rice to mold. Is that crazy or what!? Suddenly it makes sense now that my Italian grandmother always said her tomatoes in her garden grew to be so big because she spoke kindly to them. Life and death are in the power of the tongue.

The words we speak have the power to bring things to life! Guys, this is a big deal. Reminds me of a story I told a few months back about the voice of a mother bringing her baby back to life. (Powerful story – read it here if you missed it.)

I could talk about words forever. And I will be talking about the different ways their power is displayed in our lives over the next several Fridays. But here’s what I want to challenge us with in this next week: speak life.

When you’re tempted to speak negatively over a certain situation, relationship or issue, choose life instead. Encourage someone. Find something good to say about something you tend to think down about. Speak identity over your kids or your friends.

You have the power to bring to life the things that are dead in people!

“But Sara, we’re people, not rice.”

False! (Dwight Schrute voice) You are made up mostly of water. Therefore, the rice experiment applies to you not only emotionally and spiritually, but also physically.

Speak something or someone into life this week. I dare you.

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