This morning, Jacob Kurtz is getting a lot of press for the wrong reason. He’s a basketball player for the University of Florida, and he inadvertently won the game for his team’s counterpart, hated rival Florida State. Kurtz is not a prolific scorer, averaging a little over four points per game, but this mental lapse or accidental tip will live in infamy.
That young man’s gaffe was almost certainly unintentional, but it still was damaging to his team. What a graphic illustration of how costly it is to assist “the other side.” It might be a careless or unguarded word that hurts the influence of Christ with a lost soul. It could be a rash or foolish decision made under the duress of fatigue, emotional strain, or the like that dishonors God. A momentary flutter of pride may cause someone to speak evil against a brother who just happens to overhear it and become discouraged. The possibilities are endless and ever-present, but each such infraction is nonetheless damaging.
Whether it’s a mistake of the head (without evil motives) or a mistake of the heart (the fruit of secret sin within), “bonehead” moves on the spiritual battlefield can send the cause of Christ into a state of suffering. What can we do to prevent such losses?
- Control your tongue (Jas. 3:2-12).
- Constantly practice thoughtfulness (Phil. 2:3-4).
- Curb your susceptibility to flattery, pride, and preeminence (cf. Prov. 6:17; 29:5).
- Consider others better than yourself (Rom. 12:10; Eph. 5:21).
- Clear your motives and ambitions of what is sinfully self-serving (cf. Phil. 1:17; Jas. 3:14-16).
Certainly there are other things we can do to prevent helping the other team. Paul says, generally, to exercise self-control in all things (1 Cor. 9:24-27) and compete according to the rules (2 Tim. 2:5). It begins with being aware of the power of our words and conduct, using them to contribute to spiritual victory for the Lord’s side.