God's word in today's world

It was the ref’s fault…

Many times in my life I’ve said things that I should rather not have said. As the words slip out of my mouth I realise it’s not the right thing to say at the time and then I want to grab them one by one to push them back inside my mouth, but, unfortunately, it’s too late and the damage has been done.

I was standing next to the rugby field of a prominent school in the Cape once. My son was playing. It actually wasn’t my fault and I really tried my best to keep everything inside, but, man, that ref missed a good game. I don’t know why the school doesn’t appoint external referees more often. This was fuel to the fire. And yes, then it happened. With the next stupid mistake (as I saw it) I had a few things to say about the referee. Well, after the game I had to apologise to my friend who was standing next to me …

29 Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.

Life is not easy. Relationships aren’t easy. And the “not easy” things get on your nerves and when you throw a bunch of emotions and short fuses into the mix, it’s a good recipe for saying things that shouldn’t have been said. And we even want to use it as an excuse for having reacted that way. If the ref had just … If my husband or wife would only … If my boss could only … If my child would … then I wouldn’t have an outburst.

But the responsibility for what comes out of my mouth doesn’t lie with my circumstances. It lies with me. I must take control. I must ensure that the things that rise up in me do not leave my mouth. But it’s not that easy. When the emotions reach a peak (and I have talked about it so many times) it takes a lot of energy and self-control not to have an outburst.

It remains my responsibility to find ways that will make the words that come out of my mouth positive and not damaging. I must ensure that what comes out has value for others. And in this regard, each of us needs wisdom. We must quickly sum up a situation to see whether it is the right time to say what should be said. Maybe we should take a breather. Now is not a good time to tell your spouse that he or she is talking too loudly. It’s fuel to the fire and often the volume button will simply be turned up.

Every time before you speak you must ensure that the soil has been prepared. Sometimes it is better to keep quiet at first and to wait until the emotions are under control. Know yourself. Know what the triggers are and try to keep away from those things. Be wise and take a walk or take a day in order for the storm to calm down. When circumstances improve, touch on the issue again.

Each of us must ensure that we do not spew fire. It will always be our responsibility to prevent our tongues from turning into knives. Get some soldiers to prevent you from saying the wrong things. Learn other ways of doing things and ensure that you build up others, rather than breaking them down.

And the rugby and me? These days I stand right at the back and only talk to myself …


Ephesians 4:17-32


How do you react when things don’t work out the way you want them to?

Do you build up?

Do you break down?


Lord, I have to confess that at times I struggle to remain in control. There are times when I do and say things that do not build others up. I don’t want to break people down, Father, but on my own I’m too weak. I need back-up. Amen

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