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Down with Put Downs – A T for the Tongue

Gentle SpeechKey Bible Verse: Those who control their tongue will have a long life; a quick retort can ruin everything. Proverbs 13:3

Bonus Reading: Proverbs 15:28 21:23; 29:20; Psalm 141:3

As a young basketball coach I had a short fuse, especially when it came to dealing with men in stripes. It was hard keeping my mouth shut, and I often said things that got me in trouble.

One game in particular, I thought my team was being treated unfairly and was quick to point it out. Late in the game, I stood up and yelled, “What?!” It was only one word, but the officials had heard enough. I got a technical foul that cost my team the game.

Controlling the tongue is a problem for many coaches and athletes. Many times, we create more problems with our mouths than with our actions. Why? In my case, it was because I wouldn’t think before I spoke.

Why does God want us to keep our tongues in check? When we speak before thinking, we usually do not honor Him with our speech. He would much rather we say nothing at all than speak too quickly.

It’s the most difficult thing in the world to tame the tongue, but God’s Spirit living in us through the work of Jesus can help us think before we speak—even in the midst of challenging situations!

—Jere Johnson in Heart of a Coach

My Response: What came out of my mouth the last time I was under pressure?

Adapted from Heart of a Coach (Regal, 2005)

Prayer for the Week: Teach me, Lord, what it means to have a Christ-like tongue. Check my tendency to tear others down; prod me to build them up.

 

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