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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Control (01/30/06)

TITLE: The Beast
By Kate Wells


Carol thought about the argument she had just had with her husband, Frank. She winced as she remembered the cruel words that had come out of her mouth. She loved Frank. He was a good husband and so gentle. She knew she would spend the day beating herself up for having lost it like that.

The beast had gotten loose again. How it happened, she was not quite sure. But it had. She had tried to control it many times. But it was strong. Very strong.

What else could she do? Take more classes? Read more books? The beast was unbreakable. It would not be bridled. It would not receive instruction.

She had taken to calling it "The Beast" after a sermon she heard at church one Sunday. A sermon on the tongue. *A "restless evil", her pastor had called it. And said it was full of deadly poison and must be bridled. She had formed an image of some horrible dragon with a forked tongue that spewed out firey plumes of smoke. The beast...

Having riden in her younger days, she knew a thing or two about horses. A bridle was fit over the head of a horse and attached to a metal bit in it's mouth. The whole apparatus was controlled by the reins, which were held in the hand of the rider.

That all sounded well and good...and certainly worked with horses. But it just wasn't that easy to bridle her tongue and control the reins. She had tried many times. Sooner or later, someone would push her buttons. The beast would throw off it's rider and head into a full gallop. Before it was over, there would be trampled relationships and hurtful words slung everywhere.

She was frustrated at repeatedly having to undo the damage that it always caused. Her marriage was simply in a shambles because of it. She had no relationship with her grown children and her friends were distant, at best.

"Perhaps", she thought, "I need lessons in 'beast' riding." And she made an appointment to see her pastor.

She arrived a little early and more than a little nervous. Her anxiety was instantly soothed, however, when the pastor approached her with his accepting smile and extended hand.

She soon found herself in a chair in his office, pouring out the ugly details of her inability to control the beast. It was embarrassing to admit her lack of control, but it caused her to be yielded to whatever advise he was prepared to offer.

"I know how to ride horses, pastor", she stated, "but I think this must be different. Try as I might, I cannot seem to control the reins on my tongue."

"No, Carol", he replied, "and you never will". That caused her to sit up straight and stop sniffling into her tissue.

"What do you mean?", she asked.

"I mean, that is where you've gotten off track. You have been viewing yourself as the rider in the analogy. But the Bible is very clear that NO man can tame the tongue.

"Then what hope do I have?", she asked incredulously.

"Give the reins to the One who can control it...the Holy Spirit"

She smiled as she realized her error. It was a "beast" for her to control, but not for her Lord.

"Would you like to pray, Carol?" the pastor asked.

She nodded affirmatively and closed her eyes. A peace settled over her heart. A peace that she had not felt in a long time. And she envisioned herself placing the reins into the hands of God.
___________________________________________________________________________________ *James 3:8 NAS
"But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison."
James 1:26 NAS
"If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless."

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Member Comments
Member Date
dub W02/06/06
Very interesting article, fairly well written. I wish there might be an opportunity to expand thoughts like these, as there is obviously a greater story.
Oh, "she asked incredulously" - NO.
Jan Ackerson 02/11/06
On the grammar side--watch for its / it's, and "nodded affirmatively" can do without the adverb. The story is good, well-written but very familiar. Consider showing us the argument, perhaps, to draw in the readers? I really your expension of the riding analogy, and the use of "the beast" in your title and throughout the story.
Beth Muehlhausen02/12/06
You make a good point - we often try to do in our own strength what is God's to do. I would like a little more emphasis on the "aha" moment and less on the build-up to that moment - but maybe that's personal preference. (Small note: ridden in paragraph 5 is misspelled - riden.) I'm glad you had your character seek help from a more mature Christian leader/mentor - that's an important message in itself.
Crista Darr02/14/06
Please learn from the previous comments. Those folks are very good at what they do. Me? I LOVE THIS! It is so honest and applicable to our lives. Bravo. Well done! Excellent message!
Linda Watson Owen02/15/06
Oh, yes, Kathleen. This is a sensitive and 'real life' portrayal of the struggle so many of us have in controlling the 'beast' of the tongue. I really like this too! Well done!