Talent, Tempers and the Tongue

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Talent, Tempers and the Tongue

Welcome to “Athlos” a weekly Wednesday blog which examines pillars of personal excellence and regularly brings together the worlds of spirituality and sport.

Taming the Tongue

“We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check”-James 3:2

Temper tantrums

What are celebrity athletes supposed to do when they are taunted? This issue seems to come up quite frequently in the USA’s National Basketball Association (NBA). Let us consider two recent examples.

Within the past few days, Brooklyn Nets star player Kyrie Irving had run-ins with fans from one of his former teams, the Boston Celtics. It is safe to say that Irving’s communication with those supporters was frosty, enough to result in him being fined US$50,000 by the NBA. Not that long ago, Russell Westbrook of the Los Angeles Lakers decided that he had to stand up for his family when they were subjected to verbal harassment. For him, it was a step too far.  

Public figures often lead high-pressured lives because of the lofty expectations placed at their feet, coupled with intense media scrutiny. So, were Irving and Westbrook entitled to react when pushed? Recently, entertainer and actor Will Smith divided global opinions when, in the name of defending his family, he slapped fellow actor, Chris Rock. What, then, is a permissible response to provocation? Should they all have turned the other cheek?

New Testament writer, James, above says that the tongue is hard to keep under control. It is small but lethal. According to James, it is a sign of perfection (Greek teleios, meaning “maturity”) when we can keep our bodies and our tongues in check. It takes self-control and internal discipline to remain poised and even keeled when under attack.

I am not there, but I desire to reach that destination on this journey of personal and spiritual growth. There is something beautiful about the man or woman who keeps a calm spirit and a measured tongue when the heat is on.

Trained to be tolerant

Taming the tongue takes training. Consider it a way to attain verbal rather than physical fitness.  

If you were inspired by this blog, please consider sharing it with one other person today. To learn more about these and other related themes that promote the cultivation of an integrated inner self, read UNBEATABLE! which is available on Amazon in print and as an e-book.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Maria Davis-Toussaint

    Hi Tyrone,

    This is truly a wonderful topic for me, over the years I have really learnt to tame my tongue and to not respond in the moment. As a young Christian the topic of taming my tongue was a study of mine for many years, now after 15year I still feel like as the saying goes (letting people have it) I have learnt that in the end it only hurts me and my relationships and I would then have to go and apologise. but that did not come without trials and failures. I continue to practice watching my words and actions each and every day.

    Thank you for the constant reminder to be like Christ in every area of my life.


  2. Michelle Marcus

    Thank you for this Tyrone. Controlling the tongue is not an easy feat as sometimes what is said was not properly thought through and the damage done with no ttime for recovery. The world tells us you have to be the one with the last mean word and at that point you feel accomplished. I am so guiltynof this and only upon reflection I realise my flawed thought process could have saved my tongue from lashing out.

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