“Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Sound familiar? This is what is said on playgrounds amongst kids everywhere. The reality is, however, words hurt people every day. There are words that are said to us that hurt, and there are words that we say to others that hurt. No, words may not break bones, but hurtful words break hearts. Ephesians 4:29 says, “No foul language is to come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear.” Words have the power to lift people up or tear them down. Words have the power to bring a team together or tear a team apart.
- Name a time when someone’s words broke your heart.
- Name a time when someone’s words built you up.
- Have you witnessed a team being brought together or torn apart by someone’s words? What was the effect of the outcome?
Read 1 Timothy 4:12: “Let no one despise your youth; instead, you should be an example to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”
- How do you think including speech in this list of ways to be an example suggests its importance in the life of a Christian?
- What are some ways we can set an example in our speech?
- What does your team need to address when it comes to speech? How will this change help the environment of your team?
- What needs to change in your speech to set a better example for those around you?
Write out a list of words that are commonly used within your sport to build up and encourage. Make effort to use these words each practice and competition when speaking to your teammates and your competitors.
Memory verse: “For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a mature man who is also able to control his whole body.” – James 3:2