Diagnosis and prognosis – words

By Dave Henning / July 1, 2023

“Your destiny, to a large degree, is a derivative of your words. . . .  Words are like X-rays, but they do more than reveal the condition of our hearts.  Our words are both a diagnosis and a prognosis. – Mark Batterson

“Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.”- Matthew 12:34 (Berean Study Bible)

In his Introduction (“Abracadabra”) to Please Sorry Thanks: The Three Words That Change Everything, Mark Batterson talks about the etymology of the word abracadabra.  Because the origin is more spiritual than magical.  For the ancient words A’bra K’dabra mean, “As I speak, I shall create.”

Put another way, words create worlds!  Therefore, Pastor Batterson notes, in order to change your life, you need to change your words.  Hence, as Jewish theologian Abraham Herschel underscores:

“Words are themselves sacred, God’s tool for creating the universe, and our tools for bringing holiness — or evil — into the world.”

Above all, Mark stresses, our words don’t represent the world objectively.  Rather, our words create the world subjectively.  Thus, for better or for worse, it’s possible for our words to function as self-fulfilling prophecies.

As a result, our words possess the power to bless or to curse, to heal or to hurt, to give life or cause death.  The Jewish sage Akila the Translator once likened the tongue to a tool.  A tool with a knife (death0 on one end and a spoon (life) on the other end.

In fact, one scientific study found that negative words spoken to plants caused them to languish.  But positive words helped the plants to flourish.  And, Mark asserts, it’ s just as true of people as it is of plants.

Finally, Dr. John Gottman examines language in thin slices and analyzes the way people argue.  Consequently, Dr. Gottman identified the four negative horsemen of the apocalypse: criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling.

So, to change your attitude, change your words!

Today’s question: How do your words serve as a diagnosis and prognosis?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Think physics, not phonics”

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Dave Henning

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