Did you ever think about how the words that come out of your mouth affect people’s lives?
It’s a funny thing…
How often, in the course of dealing with your children do you hear yourself saying something like this: “Don’t ride your bicycle too fast…” ”Don’t stick that marble up your nose…”Don’t jump in that puddle…”?
Did you know that it’s been proven scientifically that when you make a statement that is a negative, your hearer almost always eliminates the “Don’t” part of your sentence and only hears it as a positive? Therefore, your 10 -year-old hears you saying: “Ride your bicycle fast.” Your 2-year-old, who might never have thought of sticking that marble up his nose until you mentioned it is now considering it, and your 5-year-old suddenly can’t stop thinking about jumping into that puddle.
This also carries over into our relationships with adults, co-workers, spouses, and on and on it goes.
One of my favorites is the TV anchor that says, “Don’t try this at home.”
Your boss who says, “You’d better not make another mistake like that one.”
The person who says, “Don’t judge me because…” is only calling attention to whatever his particular issue is, be it ethnicity, social status, intelligence. I can honestly say that there have been times when I had not even entertained a prejudicial thought in a given situation, but being accused of doing so suddenly brings it into the front of my mind with laser sharp focus.
Now, I know some of you are going to say, “Well, God spoke in negatives when He gave Moses the law,” and that is a true statement. The result of that, according to the Apostle Paul, was that they couldn’t ever live up to the commandments and were always falling short: “The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more..”
Jesus presents a different way of living life: ”You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind and soul, and your neighbor as yourself.” We are called to take positive action, in an atmosphere of grace, not condemnation.
I’m guilty far too often of making negative statements. I’m not espousing “Speak it and it will happen” faith, sometimes called “name it and claim it.” What I am saying is that people will try to live up to positive instructions and encouragement.
I’m going to try tracking myself for a few days and see how often I speak negatively to someone instead of encouraging and building them up to accomplish good things.
Why don you try it for a few days and let me know what happens.