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“The unloved lemon – the power of blessing”

Citron mal aimé

Some time ago, I did a rather peculiar experiment with my children, which I shared on the ACPEQ Members Facebook group (some of you have probably seen it).

The experiment consisted in taking two identical fresh fruits or vegetables (in this case, lemons), placing them in two separate dishes, in the same room, under the same conditions. For two weeks, you had to “talk” to the lemons a few times a day, one with kind words (“You’re beautiful! You smell good! You’re wonderful!”) and the other with insults, such as “You’re good for nothing! You don’t smell good!”…

After a little more than two weeks, we compared the two lemons… The result was striking! The fruit to which we had spoken kind words was practically unchanged, whereas the fruit that had received insults had significantly deteriorated! It showed several green and brownish spots of rot on the skin and inside.

One hypothesis to explain these results is that unkind words are generally uttered with a lower pitch and at a higher volume, producing low-frequency waves and stronger vibrations, which act like micro-impacts that damage the fruit (my personal theory!).

This simple experiment, even if it is not scientifically “controlled” and probably doesn’t even work every time, made me realize once again the power of words over people. Through our words, we have the power to bless and give life; in the same way, we have the power to destroy and give “death”, just as Jesus dried up the fig tree by cursing it. “A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth; from the produce of his lips he shall be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue (…)” (Proverb 18:20-21 NKJV)

In our day-to-day lives at home, with our children, with our spouse, and with those around us, we have the choice between speaking words imbued with kindness or with bitterness: “With it  [the tongue] we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.(…)” (James 3:9-10 ESV).

We have the ability to transform our curses, condemnations, judgments and harsh words into blessings.


… words that edify and strengthen;

… words that explain and enlighten;

… words that guide and direct;

… words that forgive and wish well;

… words that reassure and comfort;

… words that liberate and revive.

As expressed in Proverbs: “A gentle tongue is a tree of life” and “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” (Proverbs 15: 4a and 16: 24 ESV)

It’s up to us to speak them and teach our children this same way!

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