Is “trash-talking” part of a Christian’s way?

Is “Trash-talking” part of a Christian’s way?

Reflections on 1 Sam. 17:41-54

Recently, one of the teams that I follow lost to a premier excellent team. #2 Michigan State 78 – #1 Kentucky Wildcats 74. As to be expected, my Facebook walls news was piling up with posts and comments on the loss. I live in Louisville, Kentucky where the University of Louisville Cardinals are the state-rivals of the Kentucky Wildcats team. People starting to trash talk about how bad we had played, how immature it was for the Kentucky team to be picked the #1 team in the nation. As I read off on many of the comments, very few people copy what I do. On my Facebook post, I mentioned that it was a great game between two great teams. Great job to both teams!  That comment alone gives praise to the winner AND to the loser….

I often view trash-talking as a way of belittling those who are not in our favor. Negatively talking about another. Or in simple terms….to put down someone or something. I was reminded immediately of the fight between David and Goliath…how was “trash-talking” incorporated into their battle and how was the reaction AFTER the battle? These are my findings as I was preparing for a sermon…enjoy…INSULT FOR INSULT. Similarly, the fight between David and Goliath began with psychological sparring. Goliath thought that Israel was insulting him by sending a mere youth to fight against him. He said (1 Sam. 17:43 ESV), “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” Goliath’s reference to “sticks” may show that he saw the shepherd’s staff David carried but failed to see the sling (1 Sam. 17:40). Then after cursing David by his gods, he tried to intimidate David by promising to leave his flesh on the field of battle for the vultures and animals that feed on carrion. David’s reply was, in part, similar: “I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth…” (1 Sam. 17:46 ESV).

DAVID’S FAITH. Although David’s words surely baited Goliath and were perhaps similar to the “trash talking” that occurs between athletes today, there was also a difference. Unlike Goliath who cursed David by his gods, David simply said that he came in the name of the LORD Almighty whom Goliath had defied. The battle then became not one between Goliath and David but between the gods of the Philistines and the God of the armies of Israel.

GOLIATH’S ARROGANCE. While Goliath tried to intimidate David, he himself approached the fight with overconfidence. He considered himself a seasoned warrior facing an inexperienced youth. He carried a sword, a spear, and a javelin, and he wore protective armor while his opponent was dressed in a shepherd’s garment and carried a staff. Perhaps his confidence caused him to overlook the sling that David carried in his other hand. If so, pride led to his defeat. Prov. 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Instead of mocking David, he would have done well to heed Ahab’s advice to Ben-Hadad: “Let not him who straps on his armor boast himself as he who takes it off” (1 Kings 20:11 ESV).

GOD EXALTED. David’s son Solomon later observed that “the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all” (Ecc. 9:11). Solomon was right in that David’s victory over Goliath was not due to strength, wisdom, or ingenuity of any kind. On the other hand, because Solomon limited himself to what he could observe under the sun, he attributed the victory to “time and chance” rather than God as David did. “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6 ESV). Isaiah says, “The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day” (Isa. 2:11 ESV).

IDOLS DETHRONED. David did not allow Goliath to intimidate him. He had faith that God would exalt His name so that “all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.” Just as God had thrown down and decapitated the idol of Dagon in the presence of the Ark of the Covenant years earlier, so God threw Goliath face down and decapitated him in the presence of one coming in the name of the Lord..

So as a Christian, should we “trash-talk?”   I think the better question is… is what I am saying HELPING people to see Jesus in me?  If your answer is yes, then go for it. If your answer is NO, then you may need to rethink your ways of talking about sports…. the simple solution is to give praise to both teams….The biggest challenge for sports lovers is to put God first, sports last.  Unfortunately when the game is on the line, and the score is close…and the team loses, we often reach for the first comment in our mind to trash-talk…. Romans 12:2 teaches us to “RENEW our minds….” so may you be challenged to renew your thinking before, during, and after a game. After all, God loves us no matter…shouldn’t we love each other too?

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