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Down with Put Downs – “Your Mission…”

Gentle SpeechKey Bible Verse: No one can tame the tongue. It is an uncontrollable evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:8

Bonus Reading: James 3:2-12

“Innocent” jests that inflict minor wounds have become accepted practice in every setting, from sporting events to church socials. We’re exposed to a culture of trash talking, one-upmanship, and a false masculinity reinforced by every macho stereotype in society.

If someone gives a man a verbal jab, he has to come up with a better one. The man who isn’t quick enough with his comeback skulks away as the loser while the “guys” pat the glib-tongued winner on the back. As James declares in today’s Bonus Reading, “this is not right!”

To tackle this deeply rooted problem, let’s borrow the classic style of the show Mission Impossible as we craft a mission for men:

“Good afternoon, Mr. Phelps. It seems that a wild beast is loose in the dark regions of your mouth. It has the ability to spew acidic venom, causing the rapid breakdown of marital harmony.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, requires you to tame this tantrum-throwing, invective-spitting, complaint-mumbling tyrant—your tongue. As usual, once your tongue begins to speak consistently with grace and kindness, your mission will be complete. Good luck, Jim.”

—Bryan Davis in Spit and Polish for Husbands

My Response: Does taming my tongue seem an impossible mission? How could I begin?

Thought to Apply: A word rashly spoken cannot be brought back by a chariot and four horses.—Chinese Proverb

Adapted from Spit and Polish for Husbands (AMG Publishers, 2004)

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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