Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.
Famed golf instructor Hank Haney was caught in a firestorm of backlash yesterday after making controversial remarks about the LPGA Tour on his national radio show. In response to the state of the Tour, Haney said he couldn’t name four women on the LPGA Tour, then stated he “would just go with Lee” referring to the growing dominance of Asian females on the Tour. Many found his comments to be both racist and sexist. Some supported him and pointed to the lack of American stars and the correctness of the number of “Lee’s” on the top of leaderboards. No matter which side of the matter you stand, we can all agree the power of the tongue is unmatched. The scripture reflects the dangers of the spoken word and our difficulty to control what we say. Many times we speak without thinking in the attempt to avoid an awkward silence or invoke excitement in a conversation. Not to excuse his comments, but filling up four hours on a radio with content is a difficult task. This is even more so the case when we aren’t prepared, attempt to increase the number of listeners, or to generate interest. Is there anything beneficial to what we say if it doesn’t promote the goodness of Christ, uplift a neighbor in distress, or proclaim truth or information? Too often we catch ourselves with the desire to pass on something we heard which may or may not be true, but is “too good” for us not to be the one passing it on. Many of you who also grew up in a small town can appreciate the power of the tongue. My parents got a phone call or heard about what I did sometimes before I even did it. It is interesting to compare what we speak with how we use the gifts bestowed to us by God. In 1 Corinthians 14:26, Paul was confronted with the question concerning the church gathering and many talents being present. He responded, “[h]ow is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.” Thus, Paul told the church at Corinth that all of the talents within the church are needed, but one must discern the purpose behind the use of the talent. If it is to highlight the individual, the talent should be “left at home.” However, if the gift is for edification, the church has a place for it. The same is true for our communications. Each of us has a message and a story to share. We must ask ourselves, are sharing something for the purpose of uplifting self or Christ? What is the purpose of our testimony of salvation and transformation from liars, gamblers, cheaters, adulterers, and pool hall purveyors? Do we share it with the hopes of highlighting our own strength and brag about “what we did” or are we sharing our story to show the power of our God in the hope someone else will likewise be changed? When we speak of our Lord it is the opposite of the worldly mindset. Instead of intimating how good we are, we are sharing how undeserving of salvation we were and yet Jesus Christ loved us anyway. I pray we always think before we speak and consider the purpose for our communication. Awkward moments are not always in silent.