Memorial Day is full of American pride and tradition. It’s refreshing to see professional sports teams join in the accolades. Last weekend, in Major League Baseball, every team wore camouflage hats. Some teams even wore camouflage jerseys to honor the heroes who fight everyday in uniform. I thought this was a nice touch and very appropriate.
But on the other hand—words from the announcing booth at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, were absolutely despicable. David Wright stepped up to the plate. When he swung at an inside fastball, it not only jammed his hands, but it broke his bat in half—half of it flying all the way down the first base line. Referring to the broken bat laying on the ground, Announcer Keith Hernandez said, “There’s another dead soldier”. On Memorial Day? You’ve got to be kidding me.
Now, as a baseball fan, I know what he meant—and if you’re a baseball fan, you do too. “Dead Soldier” is common terminology for a broken bat. The same way people refer to a football as “Pig Skin”, or even the three point line on the basketball court as the “Top of the Key”. But on a day to honor fallen heroes, Hernandez says over the air, “There’s another dead soldier”; terrible, horrific, timing. Reactions have stormed the media and I understand why. Hernandez will learn to choose his words more carefully.
Sadly, Christians need to examine their words just like Keith Hernandez. What we say at the time may not seem wrong to us, but to others, our words can cause emotional damage. We must know our context, our setting, and our listeners. If we don’t, we can make an eternal mistake.
The writer of Proverbs said it this way, “A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but the heart of fools blurts out folly.” (Proverbs 12:23). Just because you think it, doesn’t mean you say it; because sometimes, when you do, shame covers your brow.