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Taming the Tongue – Part 1

Ever been cussed out on the job?

It’s happened to me twice. The first time, I was 16 and working in the sweltering heat of the Texas oilfields. The company vehicle I drove blew an engine and the shop foreman blamed it on me. He “cussed me up one side and down the other”. I pleaded innocence to no avail. Because I apologized, I was able to keep my job, but worked under a cloud of suspicion and doubt of my competence.

When I was 26, I worked for my father’s oil and gas business. I was tasked with making a phone call to decline an investment opportunity. The seller pressed to know what we didn’t like about the deal. I told him I’d done the title research. We didn’t believe he had secured all the landowner leases necessary to have legal right to drill the wells. He burst into a profanity laced condemnation of me, my dad and our company. His comments focused on my similarity to a donkey with low intelligence, then he slammed down the phone. In both cases, I was falsely accused. In both cases, I remained calm, refusing to get into verbal battles, and in both cases, I received an apology from each.

Now I’ve been around successful business leaders who used foul language when interacting with others, and without fail, I’ve thought less of them for their lack of discernment. As Christians, we’re to avoid cursing even when we’re on the receiving end. Whenever you face a tense situation, remember Solomon’s advice in Proverbs 26:4: “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.” 

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