Negative words Can Be Very Effective (Mark 11:12-14, 20-26)
How Exactly Do Negative Words Work and Why?
We’re still looking at the same story from the previous miracle lesson (#20) and the one before it (#19). In this post, we examine the negativity in Jesus’ words when He said, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again,” Mark 11:14, NIV. In ancient times, many children respected their parents out of fear of being cursed. In those days, people understood the effectiveness of negative words coming from an older person, especially from one’s own parents or someone well-advanced in age. In many parts of Africa, that understanding has not been lost to modernization. Now, let’s examine this from a Scriptural point of view.
There are numerous stories and examples from the Bible that teach us why we must be careful about what we say to people because the words we speak possess the power to bring death or life — Proverbs 18:21. One single word can do as much damage to people as one spark from a match stick can do to a large forest — James 3:1-12. Some parents are careless with the words they speak to their children, not knowing that words spoken over a child can go a long way in shaping or moulding that child in their growing age. The words Jesus spoke over the fig tree began to work immediately (see Matthew 21:19), but people did not necessarily see it immediately (see Mark 11:20). From that, we can learn that negative words spoken over someone, especially from someone spiritually above them, such as their parents, can affect their future negatively, even if the effects are not noticed immediately. We must take care not to dismiss spiritual truths as minor or non-essentials as they might be the “little foxes that ruin our vineyards,” as Solomon puts it in Song of Solomon 2:15; or the “little yeast that works through the whole batch of dough,” as Paul puts it in Galatians 5:9, NIV.
You must understand that negative words, unlike positive ones, do not require faith in order to be effective, because this is a fallen world which is already filled with and ruled by much negativity. So, when you confess negativity, you are merely opening the door and inviting it in, since it is always at the door (see God’s warning to Cain in Gen. 4:7).
An Assignment for You — Part 1
1 Having established a basic understanding of negative words, how they work and why they work so effectively even without faith, I must now give you an assignment. If you are a parent reading this post and you know that, at one time or the other, you have ever said something negative to your child or children (even if they are now all grown) pray to God seriously for forgiveness and ask Him to break the effect of those words on them.
2 It does not end there, though. You will need to call your children. The purpose of your call might surprise them. They may not even understand, but call them and reverse those words by speaking positive words over them.
- Tell them that they will succeed in life. (Even if they are already doing well, it doesn’t matter, tell them still!)
- Tell them that they will be the head and not the tail; the first and not the last.
- Tell them that they will stand out among their equals and become outstanding.
- Tell them that God will turn their labour into favour.
- Tell them that protocols will be broken for their sake.
- Tell them that where others went and failed, they will go and become successful.
Do it now! Don’t procrastinate! Speak good things into their lives; you are their parent and you hold a huge spiritual influence in the affairs of their lives. You can directly address specific challenges/issues in their lives. If they are suffering from one illness or the other, if they are unable to have a child or whatever miracle(s) they might need, you can take that burden to God in incessant prayers. PUSH! — Pray until something happens! My mum does that for us a lot. She believes that the responsibility of a parent to pray for their children does not end when their children are all grown up and out of the house. Parenthood is a calling, and like all callings of God, there is no retirement from it. When they no longer live under your roof or even listen to your opinions, you can still address their ‘mountains of stubbornness,’ infidelity, drunkenness, lust, fraud, etc. directly at the place of prayer. I write from experience. My mum and I (cause we’re prayer partners) have miraculously prayed my brother back to Christ after many many years of praying. (Of course, she had been praying long before I joined her). I don’t live with her — in fact, we live continents apart — nevertheless, distance is never a barrier to prayer. If you want to know how we do it, you can send me a private message through our contact page and I’ll do my best to answer your questions.
What Does the Bible Tell Us?
Isaac blessed Jacob (Gen. 27:26-29), Jacob blessed his children (Gen. 49:1-28), and many other parents blessed their children from Scripture. For, “in acts of blessing, the lesser is blessed by the greater,” Heb. 7:7, MESSAGE. If you are a parent reading this, and you feel like you have never used negative words on your children, then good job! However, it would still be good, and a bonus, if you called your children today to bless them. A little extra prayer never hurts, does it?
Further, to everyone reading this post, whether you are a parent or not, if your parents or any other person have ever used negative words on you that are stuck in your memory, and you feel that they are working, or might work against you, you must know this: “Christ redeemed us from that self-defeating, cursed life by absorbing it completely into Himself. Do you remember the Scripture that says, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’? That is what happened when Jesus was nailed to the cross: He became a curse, and at the same time dissolved the curse. And now, because of that, the air is cleared and we can see that Abraham’s blessing is present and available for non-Jews, too. We are all able to receive God’s life, [H]is Spirit, in and with us by believing—just the way Abraham received it.” — Gal. 3:13-14, MESSAGE
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and Him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with Himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what He is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ Himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you” (2 Cor. 5:17-19, NLT, MSG). “Therefore, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” (Rom. 8:1-2, NLT & AMPC)
Assignment — Part 2
Below are 3 final assignments I have for you:
1 Pray to God. Ask His forgiveness for the pain you have caused Him and others. Ask Him to come into your life, cleanse and make you into a new person.
2 Put a call through to those you have hurt badly, or even pay a visit to them; ask them to forgive you. And even if anybody has hurt you, forgive them and be the one to initiate the process of reconciliation; don’t wait for them. Remember, you’re now a new person. Everyone needs to see that (See Matt. 5:22-24; also read our posts on The Doctrines of Christ [coming soon] for a better understanding of that passage.]
3 Begin to attend a local Bible-teaching (not just a “Bible-reading”) church, regularly. You can also go through our Discipleship Manual (coming soon), pulled straight from what the Bible teaches. It also has a discussion section.
Do you hear God speaking to you today through this lesson? Please, leave a comment or question; your comment/question might be a blessing to someone. You could also contact us through our contact page.
For the other miracle lessons, please go to the miracle lessons page.
I was around 5 when, I am strongly convinced, I first heard the distinct voice of God. But, not until I was 11 (2002) did I have a personal encounter with Him. I was in my room that night, about to pray before bed, when I saw a revelation of how filthy my heart was. I didn't argue with God that I was too young to have such amount of filth ('cause I believed I was a 'good boy,' by human standards, at least). I simply cried uncontrollably in brokenness of heart - "The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God" (Psalm 51:17) - and He didn't.
Still crying uncontrollably, I left my room and went to the living room, where my parents were watching the nightly news on TV. After I managed to tell them about the revelation I saw, my sweet mum took me to her room and led me to Christ. I got saved that night. And 6 years later, I discovered my purpose and assignment on earth, which is raising up men and women to be godly, and teaching them the simplicity of Christianity. More than a decade later, I am still fulfilling that purpose to His glory. Hallelujah!