$10 Million Tongue


"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be." -James 3:9-10 (NIV)


As competitors, it is often hard to guard our mouths. Carson Palmer, a Heisman Trophy winner and the No. 1 NFL draft pick in 2003, signed a $49 million, 6-year contract with the Cincinnati Bengals. A total of $10 million of the deal was for his signing bonus.

However, that $10millionwasn’t contingent upon his great throwing arm, his intelligence as a quarterback or his great play-calling. It was contingent upon his tongue and whether or not he would say anything negative about his team, coaches or management. Basically, the $10 million signing bonus was a loyalty pledge in which Carson guaranteed that he would not be critical. If he ripped into his team, he lost the cash. This was quite an incentive for him to keep his speech positive and encouraging.

In the heat of battle, it is difficult to keep our tongues from slipping. After someone has wronged us on the field or in the locker room, it is easy to lash out. God desires not only for us to keep our mouths from cursing but also to abstain from being critical.

There are two types of people in the world: builders and tearers. Builders use their words to lift up those around them. They make other people feel good about themselves. They pour into the emotional bank accounts of others. Tearers are people who berate those around them. They are the cut-down kings, usually saying things to make themselves look better in front of others.

The bottom line is that the tongue is only a reflection of what is in the heart. When the pressure comes, we speak what is in our heart. When you are under pressure, what comes out? Criticism or godliness? You might not get paid $10 million for having a Christ-like tongue, but your Savior will be glorified!


1. What kind of person are you—a builder or a tearer? Which one would your friends and teammates say you are?
2. What came out of your heart the last time you were under pressure? How will you respond differently next time?
3. What does it mean to have a Christ-like tongue? What are some specific ways that you could change what comes out of your mouth?


Proverbs 12:18; Proverbs 15:4; Ephesians 4:29; 1 Peter 3:10


Lord, help me to be a person whose words build up those around me—those in my family, in my school, on my team and in my neighborhood. Create in me a clean heart, God. I desire to glorify You in all I say. Amen.

Bible Reference: 
1 Peter 3