One of the many aspects about life in Texas that I have grown to love is the High School Football. There are a number of world-class players each year and the High School Stadiums look like some College Stadiums in many parts of the country. Recently I had the privilege of going to a high school playoff game with a few friends and we watched a couple of the states top teams. The game turned out to be a blowout. We happened to be sitting on the winning team’s side (even though we didn’t have a dog in the fight)!
There was the usual yelling and good-natured cheering from the fans. We happened to be sitting just below a couple of really loud guys who were either former players from a few years back, or they were frustrated, armchair quarterbacks!
Throughout the entire game they yelled at the players and mostly the coaches. They announced to the crowd before every play what the coach should call and after the play why the coach made the wrong call.
When the coach called a pass, they droned on about why he shouldn’t pass, and then when a pass play worked they were quieted for a brief moment. When he called a run up the gut, they yelled that he should run outside. It became rather humorous and bothersome at the same time.
The humor was in the fact that they were certain they knew more than the coach. I know most fans are like this. I’ve done plenty of Monday morning coaching myself. After all I played a few years of peewee and high school football myself. And I feel sure I could have played for the Bear, if he would have just given me a fair chance.
The bothersome part was that they were so vocally critical of some of the players. I thought about the parents, other family members, and friends who were in range of their constant berating. I hurt for some of those family members if they were able to hear what the experts were saying.
This ugly scene reminds me of what I have seen and heard too many times from people in the church through the years. The people who are supposed to bear the image of Jesus can sometime be so cruel.
I thought about Christians who have spoken unkindly to elders, preachers and their family members. You know the kind of statements. “Our former preacher would have never said something like that.” “The elders in our former congregation would have never made that kind of decision.”
I thought about elders who have called the preacher “on the carpet” and read him the riot act because of something they heard from a member, without even getting his side of the story.
I thought about preachers who have been critical publicly of elders without considering their wisdom and years of experience.
I thought about church members who have criticized a young family for not “taking care of their children” the way they should have, without ever considering the time, effort and energy it took to get them ready for Bible study or worship.
I thought about Christians who have jumped on some visitor about the way they dress or behave with no thought that maybe this individual who is seeking God has never been taught anything about worship.
I thought about Christians I know who have convinced themselves that gossiping about others is a “spiritual gift,” and it is their duty to tell everything they know.
I thought about Christians (husbands & wives) who make cruel statements to their mates that they wouldn’t even think about making to anyone else.
I thought about Christian parents who have made statements to their children that have left lasting scars on those children.
I thought about the hurtful words that have been spoken by those who are commanded to let their lights shine before others.
“Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” (Colossians 4:6)
“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29)
Dear Father in Heaven, please help us to be people who are careful about the words we allow to come out of our mouths. Help us Lord to consider that our words can be hurtful or our words can be helpful. Help us God, to speak only words that will edify those who hear us. Help us to remember that we should glorify You with everything we say and so. In the Name of our Savior we pray, amen.