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Our Tongue’s Get Us Into Trouble

The classic movie, A Christmas Story, is a nostalgic look at growing up in Gary, Indiana, through the eyes of a boy named Ralphy. One scene depicts a school recess in the middle of winter. Two boys surrounded by their classmates argue whether a person’s tongue will stick to a metal pole in below-freezing weather.

Eventually one of the boys succumbs to the infamous “triple-dog dare.” Hesitantly he sticks his tongue out and touches it to the school flagpole.

Sure enough, it gets stuck. The recess bell rings. Everyone runs into the school building, everyone except the hapless victim. When the teacher finally looks out the window, she sees the boy writhing in pain, his tongue frozen to the flagpole.

While few of us have been in that predicament, we all know what it’s like to have our tongues get us in trouble. When we suffer the pain that eventually recoils upon everyone who speaks boastful words, lying words, bitter and cruel words, hypocritical or doubting words, we learn the truth of the proverb, “He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity” (Prov. 21:23).

M. Castillo, Whitewater, Kansas, quoted in Leadership, p. 49

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