If You Can’t Say It, Don’t Think It
Over the years, I’ve seen the effects of my thoughts on the lives of others. I’ve watched people respond to my unspoken anger, frustration or even affection. It’s shocking to see how thoughts can affect those around us without uttering a single word. Simply put, my thoughts affect others and carry a huge weight.
The fact is this: I’m not given a free pass to think as I like just because I don’t utter the words that I’m thinking. If I think thoughts, and indulge them, their effects are as real as if I spoke them aloud!
Far too often we can have thoughts that remain hidden without much external notice, yet they still can pack a punch. For example, I can’t see someone day after day and think, “Ooh, I just hate them!” and not have it affect them. My thoughts affect others!
I’m not talking about the fluttering thoughts that come from the devil to tempt me to sin, which I dismiss. What I’m talking about is the thought that comes into my head that I legitimize by giving it time and rehearsal. These thoughts are as powerful, if not more so, than words. They carry soulish power to influence. The bottom line is that if I can’t say it out loud to you, then I shouldn’t indulge it in my thoughts.
Let me give you another example. I wouldn’t typically rage to someone’s face, but do I do it in my mind? I wouldn’t say, “You stupid idiot, why don’t you just shut up!” But do I give way to this line of thinking in my head? I believe the effects could be the same. Outwardly screaming in people’s faces might wound them, but indulging these thoughts in my head makes the transactions less clean. The other person often goes about feeling condemned and has no apparent reason or recourse to address the affront.
My thoughts affect others!
If only the mind were a sealed vault—a box that contained and held our thoughts to ourselves. Yes, the mind locked away with no one to witness or be affected by it. But this just isn’t how it works. I actually wonder how much of what we experience in this world is from the thoughts of others. Just how many of the waves of condemnation we experience come out of the energy and life of another’s negative thoughts. Watchman Nee talks about this as the soulish prayers of the saints. He attests to the ill effects of actual Christians praying from the mind of the soul rather than the mind of the Spirit. The results can be devastating.
Ticket to Ride: My Thoughts Affect Others!
I had a dream once that I would like to share. There was a small room filled with people. There were neither windows nor doors in this room, and the people spoke not a word. All that these people were doing was sitting and thinking. They were rehearsing and meditating on selfish thoughts. This in and of itself would not be that disturbing but for what I saw next. This is the kicker. When I looked on the outside of the room I saw demons taking flight and being sent into action. The demonic left the room to attack the very people on whom these thoughts were focused. I know this sounds like a Frank Peretti novel, but there you have it. I asked God what I was looking at, and He said, “All the enemy needs is a thought.” Whoa! I don’t have to actually murder, as long as my thoughts are murderous. I don’t have to have illicit sexual affairs, as long as my thoughts are lustful. My thoughts have power and influence all on their own.
But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Matthew 5:28 ESV
You might say, “John, give me more scriptural proof of this.” Many scriptures speak about the mind and its abuses. Here are but a few.
For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, But his heart is not with you. The morsel you have eaten, you will vomit up, and waste your pleasant words.
Proverbs 23:7-8 NKJV
For it’s like someone calculating inwardly. “Eat and drink,” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. You will vomit the little you’ve eaten and waste your pleasant words.
Proverbs 23:7-8 AMP
Why did the man throw up? It wasn’t because of a blessing bestowed on him. The thoughts of the one cursed the food and affected the other.
Even in your thoughts, do not curse the king, nor in your bedroom curse the rich, for a bird of the air will carry your voice, or some winged creature tell the matter.
Ecclesiastes 10:20 ESV
WOW, that one sounds just like my dream, huh? Demons ride on the wings of my thoughts to affect and influence others for the kingdom of darkness.
The Enemy: My thoughts affect others!
There’s a power in our thoughts and the enemy uses it. A good friend asked me if I believed the enemy could read our minds. What a great question! No, I don’t believe Satan is omniscient, nor do I believe him to be omnipresent. But what I do believe is that he is a legalist and uses the Law against us. God gave power to my soul as well as to my spirit. I am to choose everyday which one rules in my life. If I indulge my base nature to be soulish, Satan will utilize and capitalize on my choice and use it against me and against those around me.
No matter how much I desire to, I don’t live in a vacuum. My life, thoughts and actions, affect those around me. If I hadn’t witnessed the effects myself, I might say, “Aw, come on…” But the truth is, I have witnessed the effects of other people’s thoughts on me and my thoughts on others. Thoughts bring life or death, no matter how I wish to deny their power.
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
Romans 8:5-6 ESV
My brothers, don’t be like excitable children but use your intelligence! By all means be innocent as babes as far as evil is concerned, but where your minds are concerned be full-grown men!
1 Corinthians 14:20 Philips
There is so much more to this than a simple post can explore, and I would like to return to the subject in the future. I believe this is too vital to give just a glancing blow. But because it is so important, I would rather shine some light on it now than none at all.
My thoughts affect others – fact, not fiction. And with that in mind, I will answer for every idle word that I think or speak. One day I will stand before the King of Kings and give an account for how I dealt with the truth that my thoughts affect others!
May my meditation be pleasing to Him, for I rejoice in the Lord.
Psalm 104:34 ESV