Scientific studies show that when we speak in positive language rather than negative language, cognitive functions increase. In fact, positive language specifically strengthens areas of the brain’s frontal lobe. Thus when these studies were released, classroom (and workplace) language began to change. “Don’t hit” becomes “Be kind.” Positive statements help listeners feel helped and that the speaker is on their side.
For the past few weeks, I have been writing a Sunday school lesson on the Ten Commandments—God’s instruction pamphlet of a moral compass. Do not steal. Do not kill. Do not have idols, and so on.For the one wondering if He really sees, really knows, really cares, He does. Click To Tweet
Four of those commandments are instructions for our relationship to God. Six cover our relationship with others. The majority are written with negative terminology.
Along comes Jesus. The God of all creation dwelling among us. The Word made flesh. The one who could be touched by the feeling of our infirmities. Since He understood the people He created and walked among, He changed the vernacular.
A list of do’s and don’ts became positive language in Matthew 22: 37–39:
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
Positive statements. Love God. Love your neighbor.
Why restate it like that?
He is the God who helps, and He is the God who is on our side.
Because He is the God who helps, and He is the God who is on our side. And in all His infinite wisdom, thousands of years before there was science to back it up, He knew the empowerment and strength His rephrased commandments would give the hearer. Love. Simply put. Love. Not just a list of rules, though valuable. It was integrity and character people truly needed. Love. Love when it hurts. Love when it’s not convenient. Love when you want to hate. Love. A list of right and wrongs narrowed down to the most positive of terms: love.
For the one wondering if He really sees, really knows, really cares, He does.
JoDana Flowers is the wife of pastor Kyle Flowers in Holly Springs, MS, and the mother of three beautiful teenage daughters. In addition to those roles, she is also the principal and an elementary school teacher at Heritage Christian Academy. She holds a BA in English and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Belhaven University and happily serves as a curriculum writer for Pentecostal Publishing House.