Have you ever said something “in the moment” and then wished you had thought a little harder before you said it? Athletes are praised for talking trash before a competition, but most of the time it’s best if they just kept quiet.
In the 2003 NFC Wild Card Playoff between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers, Matt Hasselback’s words were captured over the PA system as his team won the coin toss: “We’ll take the ball, and we’re gonna score.” Hasselback was partly right—one of his passes did lead to a score. His pass was intercepted by the Packers who took it all the way for a touchdown and the game win. Matt Hasselback was seen thumping himself in the head as he walked off the field while the commentator said, “Many of the headlines will talk about what he said at the coin toss.”
- It’s football season and everybody loves to talk a big game. What’s the most outrageous promise you’ve heard a player make? (Let students share appropriate responses.)
- Are any of you impulsive with what you say? Why is it so hard sometimes to think before we speak? (Sometimes we want to seem important or clever in front of a group. Other times we just don’t have a filter for what we’re spontaneously thinking. And still other times we might get angry or frustrated and this makes us “snap.”)
- Keeping a promise is much, much harder than making one. Has anyone been promised something and then realized it was not going to happen? How did that make you feel? (Answers will vary. It is common to feel jaded, dismissed, disappointed, and even cynical when others habitually break their promises to us.)
- The digital world has made impulse control even harder. Have you ever sent a text that you couldn’t retrieve later? Why are digital and voice messages even harder to deal with? (When we use a digital device to send a message, there is a record of what we said. When someone can revisit the offense, it becomes even harder to make amends.)
It’s easy to say something stupid in the moment, but it can hurt those around us. Instead, God wants us to be men and women of our word. Let’s read about someone who paid a heavy price for making a rash vow.