“People can tame all kind of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. Ans so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!” (James 3:7-10, NLT)
In just three starts for the Denver Broncos in the final games of the 2010 NFL season, Tim Tebow, the rookie quarterback from the University of Florida, gave Broncos (and Gators) fans something to cheer about. And, even though the Broncos won only one game with Tebow under center, he looks poised to have a bright future in the Mile High City (provided the Broncos don’t do something stupid like draft Andrew Luck).
As a rookie, Tim Tebow seems to have caught the attention of the opposing defenses. In addition to playing smash-mouth football against Tebow and the Broncos, some opposing players used their mouths to talk smack into the young ears of pro football’s best known Christian, in the hopes of throwing Tebow off his game. Apparently, this particular defensive scheme has backfired.
When asked after the Houston game about his trash talking and the trash talking abilities of his opponents, Tebow smiled and answered:
“No, I am not a very big trash talker. I might throw in a ‘God Bless,’ or a ‘Good game,’ or something like that. It’s mostly in a silly situation where I’m stuck under the pile and like eight guys are on top of me or something like that. Some guys might just blow it off, but honestly, most of them laugh.”
Now, if there was ever a situation where you might be tempted to start calling somebody names (not the good kind), it would be from the bottom of a pile in the middle of the football field as 300 pound linemen are
whispering sweet nothings yelling insulting expletives into your ear. But, not Tim Tebow. By offering “blessings” instead of “curses,” Tebow is not only following the admonition of James 3, but is employing the Biblical principle found in Proverbs 25:21-22. When his opponents (on the field or behind the microphone) mock TT, his “God bless” response is the modern-day equivalent of heaping burning coals on their heads. Priceless.
The opponents of Tim Tebow — inside and outside of football — would love nothing more than for Tebow to fall flat on his face (ain’t gonna happen). Such is the culture that we live in. However, Christians should not be surprised when they are ridiculed , because Jesus told us that this would happen. But, just like Tebow, we should also not be surprised when God blesses us for standing up for our beliefs and values. After all, we can be both ridiculed and blessed at the same time!
Tim Tebow understands that his conduct — actions AND words — matter. What he says, both on the field and off the field, will be scrutinized perhaps more any other pro football player currently active. Why? Because he is a follower of Christ.
Everyone (not just Christians) would do well to heed James’ warning about our tongues. Whether we are literally using our tongues for speech or are transferring the spoken word to paper (or blogs), we must be careful what we say and how we say it. Just because we use more impersonal means of communication (like blogging) does not mean that we can “let loose” with our tongues.
No matter how much education or training or experience we think we have, our tongues cannot be tamed. If you are married, just ask your spouse and he or she will confirm this very fact. Our tongues, more often than we would like to admit, spew forth a deadly poison. We think that we are better than the linebacker shouting profanities at an opposing player, but the fact is that our tongues are just as prone to misfiring. And, when they do, it’s usually a doozy. I’ve too many personal (and painful) stories to confirm this very fact.
I don’t know if Tim Tebow will let his guard down and resort to trash talking on the football field. Even at the still very young age of 23, Tebow has thus far shown maturity beyond his years. But, like anyone else, he will have his moments of weakness.
In the heat of battle, with the game on the line, Tebow may just be tempted to offer more than his standard “God bless” to one of his hard-charging opponents (and with the Raiders as division rivals, who could blame him). I’m sure you can think of some good lines that Tebow could deliver. Personally, I like “I love you, man.” There’s noting quite liking taming your tongue while heaping burning coals on someone else’s head. It might even help him win some games. And, it’s Biblical to boot! Pretty good advice for any of us to follow.