Summer 2024

OneCoach: Hung by the Tongue

The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” — James 3:6 

Athletes at all levels need instruction, encouragement, and yes, correction. This is true for the kid walking onto the field for the first time, all the way up to the most-experienced professional. But it’s how the instruction, encouragement and correction is administered that makes the difference. Coaches and parents can destroy a budding talent with undue or mean-spirited criticism.

James 3 compares the tongue to a fire. Fire can be classified as “friendly fire” or “hostile fire.” Friendly fire, by definition, is one within its intended boundaries and/or its intended purpose. A hostile fire is one that escapes its confines and destroys.

Fire is necessary just as instruction and correction are necessary for athletes and Christians. But don’t let the fire of correction escape its intended boundaries and destroy the target at which it’s aimed. Churches should be warmed by the words that proceed out of our mouth, not burned by gossiping, backbiting, rumors, etc.

The tongue can provide encouragement where it is needed, a challenge to be more Christ-like when it is needed, and correction when it is needed. But it can also destroy. Control the tongue and warm the Church.

— Chris Boggs

OneCoach, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is an international community of coaches and spouses who have been uniquely gifted and called by God. Visit for more stories and videos.

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