One famous verse from Chapter 25 of Proverbs is verse 11. It says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” The jest is that there are times when the right words are the most beautiful things in the world. On the contrary, the wrong words at the wrong time are truly the ugliest things in the world. Sometimes an illustration of the negative helps us better grasp the truth of the positive.

Garrison Keillor was a master at this. The coach of the Lake Wobegon baseball club was a man who knew how to say the wrong thing at the wrong time. Keillor said: He was ticked off if a boy hit a bad pitch. He’d spit and curse and rail at him. If his son hit a home run, he would say, “Blind man coulda hit that one. Your gramma coulda put the wood on that one. If a guy couldn’t hit that one out, there’d be something wrong with him. Wind practically took that one out of here, didn’t even need to hit it much,” and lean over and spit.

The coach’s son could never please him. He goes on: Once, against Freeport, his oldest boy, turned and ran to the center field fence for a long, long, long fly ball. He threw his glove forty feet in the air to snag the ball and caught the ball and glove. When he turned toward the dugout to see if his dad had seen it, his Dad was on his feet clapping, but when he saw the boy look to him, he immediately pretended he was swatting mosquitoes. The batter was called out, the third out. Jim ran back to the bench and stood by his dad. The coach sat chewing in silence and finally said, “I saw a man in Superior, Wisconsin, do that a long time ago. But he did it at night, and the ball was hit a lot harder.”

Psalm 19:14 carries a great reminder for us all. We should pray with David, “LORD, may the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing in your eyes.”

“All the words of my mouth are righteous; there is nothing in them twisted or crooked.” Proverbs 8:8