The Tongue


"Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things." — Philippians 4:8


I was twenty-one years old, and I had just graduated from The Ohio State University, having majored in education. I arrived as a new teacher and coach at River View high school near Warsaw, Ohio, in 1974. There I met Andy Duda, the varsity football coach. I noticed initially that he was a physically strong man, and I learned very soon that he was also spiritually strong. Any player on Andy’s team knew that we acted like men, we worked hard, and we never used profanity. Andy taught those values to his players and modeled them to everyone.

My parents do not use profanity and taught that to me as well. People notice when you do not use profanity. Have you ever had someone apologize because they used profanity around you? They noticed that you do not need it to communicate. I learned by example from Andy Duda and from my parents that a Christian does not use words that our Creator would not appreciate. We need to use words that honor Him in all we do.

I am now in my thirty-second year of teaching and have never forgotten that lesson. I still try to live up to it. As a football and basketball official, I hear words and phrases from coaches that are personal put-downs of the players and words that dishonor our Creator. I encourage anyone who is around young people to work hard to set a good example and to remember it starts with the tongue. Bear in mind Philippians 4:8, and use words that are noble and pure and admirable.


1. What words do you use when you are frustrated or angry?
2. Do you model good behavior and use language that honors Christ?
3. What does it mean to be a “man/woman”?


Extra Reading: James 3:1–12


Dear heavenly Father, I thank You for this day and the chance to be a good example to others. Give me the strength to live and speak in a way that honors You. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Bible Reference: 
James 3