SCRIPTURE: Acts 4:4 (CEB)
Many who heard the word became believers, and their number grew to about five thousand.
STORY this report was made on February 13, 1984 in Spokesman Review:
The banter of the operating room may have to be toned down, if new research on unconscious awareness in patients under total anesthesia is borne out. Surgeons have taken their patients' oblivion as license for talking as though the patient were not there--even making remarks that patients would find frightening if they heard. But two research groups report that what anesthetized patients hear can affect them. "What the patient hears--say a remark like, 'He's a goner' --could conceivably have an adverse effect on his recovery," says Henry Bennett, one of the researchers.
In one study, anesthetized patients heard a taped voice tell them during surgery they should signify having heard the message by touching their ears in a postoperative interview. Later, in the interview, the patients tugged at their ears, although none could recall having heard the message, nor were they particularly aware of touching their ears. Dr. Bennett, a psychologist now at the Univ. of California Medical School at Davis, reports that when patients were given the suggestion during surgery that one hand was becoming warmer and the other cooler, the hands' temperature did so. This suggests, says Bennett, inadvertent negative remarks--such as, "Holy Moses, this is a terrible bone graft" --could interfere with recovery. Under anesthesia, "Patients may be more vulnerable to upsetting remarks they might hear," Bennett says. "Their normal coping techniques aren't available, since they are drugged."
Other research involving patients undergoing back surgery suggests possible beneficial applications. Because a common postoperative complication of back surgery is difficulty is urinating, most patients require a catheter. During surgery, the researchers suggested to the anesthetized patients that they would be able to relax their pelvic muscles afterward, and so need no catheter. None of the patients who received the suggestion subsequently needed a catheter.
Are we relying on subliminal messaging as a key ingredient to our witness? That somehow, at an unconscious level, our witness will take root in their hearts. That through a process of spiritual osmosis the truth of Jesus Christ will be transferred from us to those who might come near to us in the market place.
I’ve always been taken with the words in verse 4 of the 4th chapter of Acts … “they heard the word and became believers.” Every time I stand up to preach I believe that in my heart-of-hearts. None of us will ever know just how many we are affecting with our message and witness, but one thing can be said, I’m certain it isn’t five thousand. I’m not sure that I’ve shared the Good News with a grand total of 5,000 over my lifetime. Who knows?
This one thing is completely clear – we need to be more excited about what we believe and more forthright with sharing it!
There is a lot of chatter in the stores, at the restaurants, at the offices, on the social media concerning the winning teams involved in March Madness. In fact, there is more open enthusiastic discussion concerning college basketball and who might or might not make it to the elite 8 or the final 4 … Go, Florida! … but are we as excited about sharing our faith … or is it subliminal time?
We want to be more enthusiastic about our faith without becoming one of those “in your face” kind of believers. Help us … please!