Self Fulfilling Prophecies: Why do we even speak it?
It is funny in a way. I always roll my eyes when Irina tells me “Don’t say that! It will come true!”. Her view is “don’t let the devil hear you – only God knows what you think.” When I look at it, however, her words are often full of more wisdom than I give her credit for.
In my sole post in May, I talked about “No Time for God“. And here I am over a month later, visiting my blog to write about some of the things God has used as teaching tools in my life.
So, what is a self fulfilling prophecy? Mirriam Webster says it is “becoming real or true by virtue of having been predicted, or expected.” For example, we wake up and say “today is going to be a lousy day”, and we unconciously alter our actions during the day to make that come true. It is a pschological thing in our human nature.
Self fulfilling prophecy is a concept “discovered” by Robert K. Merton to explain how a belief or expectation, correct or not, affects the outcome of a situation or the way a person or group will behave. He defined that it is how we look at a situation that defines the outcome – good or bad. If we get up late in the morning and miss our bus to work, we can say “this is going to be a lousy day” and it likely will be, due to our actions. Or, we would look at the fact that our friend gave us a ride, which opened up the opportunity for a conversation, which made for a good day.
We, as humans, often give God credit for our own doings, and what happens to us in life. This is more often just us living a sinful life. Thankfully God uses these situations to teach us.
What? You want a biblical example? (Yes, I know – this IS a God oriented blog, after all.)
Ok, how about Moses and the Israelites as they headed off to the promised land? Their complaining in the wilderness (Exodus 15:23-24, Exodus 16:2-3, Exodus 17:1-3, Numbers 11:4-6) set up the attitude that failure was imminent, they would die at any moment, and they would have been better if Moses left them in bondage.
God often granted them their desires with warning to quit grumpbling and trust in Him (Exodus 15:26, Exodus 16:20). In his wrath he would sometimes give them exactly what they self-professed (Numbers 11:31-35). The result? It took them 40 years to make that short journey, all because their attitudes caused them to not trust in God.
Hence, be careful how you look at your situation.
Which leads me to the next big thing on my mind – walking in darkness, and the many things to be learned from what we think, see, and do when we are in the “valley of the shadow of death”. It is all I will say on the topic at the moment. But expect more soon.