Penn State recently fired football coach Joe Paterno. Ashton Kutcher read a headline about it and, without knowing the full story, he put his opinion up on Twitter. Kutcher said, “How do you fire Jo Pa? #insult #noclass as a hawkeye fan I find it in poor taste.” If you’ve been following the news or are really into college football, you know what a mistake this was.
Needless to say, Ashton Kutcher received a lot of nasty comments for supporting Joe Paterno on this one. To give Kutcher credit, he has been humbly apologizing and handling the situation well. He has made apologies and explained that he had no idea why Paterno was fired and assumed it was because he was just getting old.
Ever speak too soon and been unable to take it back?
Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Prov 12:18(emphasis added)
He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin. Prov 13:3(emphasis added)
The Bible urges us to think before we speak. When you just let words come out of your mouth as soon as you think them, you’re going to hurt others, especially when those words are in anger. Not only that, but you’re going to put your foot in your mouth and look foolish. What does it mean that you’ll come to ruin? It means that you’ll make people angry with you, burn bridges in relationships, lose friends, and all the things that come along with not zipping your big flapper.
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,... James 1:19(emphasis added)
I’m a cynical and sarcastic person by nature and I really need these kind of reminders. Just last night I was short with my wife about something stupid and had to apologize for not guarding my tongue. How hurtful we can be when we just let words fly out without a thought! We absolutely need to be slow to speak when we are frustrated, upset, angry, disappointed, etc. Slow down. Choose your words wisely.
One more bit of advice for you if you are anything like me. Be even more careful over texting, E-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and all other forms of media. I find myself tempted to say things in print that I would NEVER say in person. Don’t use your Facebook status as a chance to rudely say whatever mean, short-tempered thoughts you have. Heed the Bible’s warning on this one. Get all of the facts, take time to think, and consider your words carefully. Reckless words, even on Facebook, are not pleasing to God and they will bring nothing but trouble.
Here are some questions for myself and you:
- What things get me frustrated or angry to the point where I speak without thinking?
- What can I do to help myself think before I speak? (Counting to ten, reciting this verse, etc. when you realize you are upset)
- Do I say things online or through text that I would never have the audacity to say in person?
- What was the last thing I said without thinking and how did it turn out? Who do I need to apologize to?