Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
The first section of Part 2, below, on restoration is excerpted from a series on verbal abuse I featured in 2017. It identifies a unique research project designed to illustrate the damage that can, indeed, by inflicted by mere words alone.
The second section will expand on the origin of damaging words–the “heart/soul”–and offers several biblical encouragements to keep our mind (heart and soul) on Jesus Christ to not only help us remain spiritually–thus also mentally and emotionally–awake, aware, and alert but also to be better able to resist responding in kind to those who will turn more and more against us and goodness in general, because of the “increase of wickedness,” that causes “the love of most (to) grow cold” (Matthew 24:12).
Section I: On Words
The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18 NIV)
I thought the pictures, below, might suffice for a thousand more words (as in the idiom, “a picture is worth a thousand words”) on the importance of communicating with positive messages and with kindness.
These and other images are from the work of Dr. Masaru Emoto and presented in his book The Miracle of Water. To shed insight on his work, from a review here, this synopsis: “Masaru Emoto reflects on water’s ability to transmit the energy of resonance—necessary not only for life on earth but also for our own happiness. He has photographed thousands of water crystals, but the most beautiful crystals are those formed after the water is exposed to the words ‘love and gratitude.'”
If adult humans are 57-60% water, the meaning of the effects of positive and negative actions on water-infused organisms warrants thoughtful consideration, if just figuratively, though perhaps literally as well if one takes into regard Dr. Emoto’s hypothesis.
You may wish to click on a clearer image, here, that leads to other, similar images contrasting positive and negative communication “resonances”.
Section 2: On Words from the Heart
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:2-4, NIV)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable— if anything is excellent or praiseworthy— think on these things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me, put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.… (Philippians 4:8-9, Berean Study Bible)
Above all else, guard your heart (inner man, mind, will, heart), for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23)
If there is anything to Dr. Emoto’s hypothesis and if there is anything to what countless victims of verbal abuse relate concerning how it hurts, deeply, when their abusers perpetrate words of hatred against them, particularly over a period of time, then this type of behavior has a spiritual component as well.
As with the origin of all sin, hate originates in the mind, sifts downward to the heart/soul, and if not checked and repented of, manifests outwardly, and the damage to not only the hater but also to his/her targets begins, destroying relationships in its wake.
Big Hateful Lies
In today’s arguably abusive political arena, if you think about the unleashed verbal vitriol against one’s opponent(s) that marks a new era in political incivility (greatly proliferating due to modern technology), one can see also a “two-for-one-deal,” in the combining of the “Big Lie,” a term coined by Adolph Hitler in his manifesto, Mein Kampf, with whatever the hateful lie is that the perpetrator wants to repeat.
Appropriate and necessary criticism is one thing.
Verbal abuse is another.
When it comes to the Big Lie theory in general, repetition sells…and seeds…and waters–and at length brings a bitter harvest.
When it comes to the Big Lie theory as applied to rid the world of, say, a leader many are opposed to, instead of negotiating, compromising, and the other forward-moving tools at the disposal of sincere politicians, simply repeating, daily, as many–and varied–insults, accusations, even calls for literal death, one can, despite any relevant facts, figures, and full contexts, and the focus narrows–as do the minds and emotions of the like-minded.
What due-process and rule-of-law solutions may have saved the day, the man or woman, and/or the republic at large, are tossed on the heap of a fire turning into a mental and emotional inferno, not only a bitter but also a lethal “harvest” may well ensue. Unless checked.
In the meantime, people succumb more and more to a divide-and-conquer mentality and reality arguably bred by “identity politics” and stoked by street thugs operating in many places with impunity as law enforcers are often told to stand down.
To paraphrase Sir Walter Scott, “oh what a tangled web we weave” not only when “first we practice to deceive” but also when our minds and hearts are bent on destructive–instead of constructive–change.
Other (More Powerful, Restorative, and Sustaining) Words
To the spiritual application–and solution–here are a few more words from the ancients who also knew good and evil, right and wrong, destructive and life-giving powers (for there is nothing new under the sun).
They, too, knew the same God we do Who provides powerful, restorative, and sustaining solutions.
The essential problem:
The heart (inner man, mind, will, heart) is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
“I the Lord search the heart
and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct,
according to what their deeds deserve.” (Jeremiah 17:10)
How to get there, or back there, when the path is strewn with powerful temptations to respond in kind?
If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored; If you remove unrighteousness far from your tent. (Job 22:23)
And it all starts with prayer, such as,
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)
Don’t have a relationship with God yet?
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10)
Think this is impossible?
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Mathew 19:25-26)
As a believer, then, when times get tough and every other time, you will have at your disposal the wisdom imparted by the Holy Spirit who “searches the hearts” and aids us in all we need to be restored, encouraged, strengthened, and emboldened, the same Holy Spirit gifted us courtesy of Jesus Christ. As He put it:
But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment:9 about sin, because people do not believe in me;10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer;11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” (John 16:7-15)
“Make known” as in what you need to help restore your peace, clear your mind, and help you guard your emotions.
A much better, in this case, life-giving–preserving, restoring, and guiding–two-for-one-deal.*
*For more information on how to enter into salvation by way of entering into a relationship with Jesus Christ, read here.