I would like to continue on the thought of the power of words, but more the power of ideas and mental pictures. I’ll draw on another old story from scripture.
This story is a commonly known one about a slightly whacked prophet named Ezekiel. This guy was really unusual. He had visions of things that many have described as UFO’s. I don’t know about that, but his most famous (and possibly strangest) adventure was with a bunch of bones.
If I read the story correctly, God seems to have picked Ezekiel up and dropped him in the middle of a valley, which, the Good Book tells us, was filled with bones. In one of my favorite passages in all of scripture, Ezekiel describes the bones that he is confronted with: “and, lo, they were very dry”, i.e. they were long past their former use.
God then asks our man a curious question: “Can these bones live?” The obvious answer to most of us would be “no”, but Ezekiel hedges his bets. He is dealing with God, after all.
The entire story can be found (and should be read) in the 37th chapter of Ezekiel’s story. The short version is that God transforms “dem dry bones” into a vast – and quite living – army.
The point? What we see and what God sees are often quite different. (q.v. “God’s thoughts are not man’s thoughts”, “Man looks on the outside, He looks on the inside”.) Before we start in on judging (and/or name-calling) others, remember that you don’t see the whole picture. When passing such judgement, you and I are attempting to usurp the position of the King of the universe. Bad Idea.
Use the mind of God to see the potential in others: that troublesome teen, the drunk on the corner, the quarrelsome classmate, the overly ambitious co-worker. Maybe God will use you to breath new life into those dry bones.
It’s happened before.