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The New Four-Letter Word

Published on June 30, 2023

Dan Britton


“Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.”
—James 1:2–4

Several years ago, the football team at the Oscoda Area High School in Michigan cancelled the last five games of the season as a result of going 0–4 and having not scored a point. I know going winless and scoreless has a sting to it, but my heart hurts thinking that someone gave up on a group of athletes. I think about the possible victories those athletes will never experience. I don’t mean on-the-field victories. Yes, they probably would have finished 0–9, but it’s not about the scoreboard or the win–loss column.

It’s about the life victories that they will not experience this season. I guess they had never heard the famous Winston Churchill quote, “Never give in—never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in…” As a great leader, Churchill advised people to not quit.

The new four-letter word is QUIT.

Quitting is something that has permeated our society and regretfully become a core value for many. People quit without giving the repercussions another thought. However, I believe the word needs to be removed from our vocabulary. Not only do I see it as a curse word, but it’s also a curse to all who live by it.

I can hear, 20 years from now, those athletes in Michigan saying they wish the coaches had not given up on them. Those athletes will remember that season for the rest of their lives. Even if they would have continued the season and went winless and scoreless, it could have been a defining moment, one that developed their character. It’s in the struggle and strain that God shapes us and molds us. But we won’t get to this if we quit when things get hard.

I will never forget the conversation I had with a 16-year-old boy during an FCA retreat; it burdened my heart greatly. During free time, I saw him sitting by himself with his head in his hands. Obviously, something was troubling him, so I sat down next to him to help. Noticing that he was crying, I simply asked, “What’s wrong?” 

Having had the opportunity to work with youth for years, I was prepared for the typical response: girlfriend problems, alcohol or drugs, friendship struggles or school issues. I was shocked when he said, “I hate that my parents let me quit everything I start.” He went on to explain that everything he started, he quit. He then blurted out, “I just wish they would make me finish what I started.” Wow. Usually I hear the exact opposite: “I hate that my parents make me finish everything I start.”

God used that conversation to reveal to me that people need support, direction and encouragement to finish strong. The young man confessed he was weak and that his tendency would be to quit when things got tough, but he wished his parents would help him finish well. This conversation has helped shape me as a parent and leader. As a result, our family incorporated a rule: What you start, you finish. Often we will say, “Brittons don’t quit!” It’s an easy way to reinforce the value of finishing everything we start.

When our kids were growing up, we told them that whatever they started, they finished. No matter what! If they came to a point they didn’t want to continue because of various reasons, they knew we could discuss the challenges, but quitting wasn’t an option. When my son Eli was in eighth grade, he wanted to quit lacrosse. We are a lacrosse family, with all the kids playing and my wife and I coaching. He was feeling the pressure to perform and didn’t want to keep playing. As we talked through it after the season, he realized that most of the pressure was self-imposed. He decided to persevere, and he went on to be captain of his varsity high school team and even played four years in college!

“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” —1 Peter 1:6–7

This passage reminds us that God will honor and bless the faithfulness of His children. Our families, teams, churches, schools, businesses and organizations should be a place of fertile ground to cultivate a spirit of finishing. The four-letter word quit should be removed from our conversations. Paul reminds us in Galatians 6:9 the reward of not quitting: “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”

We will be known by others as either a finisher or a quitter. The choice is ours, but the difference between the two is life-changing.



Victory Mindset

Defeat Mindset

Character Building

Convenience Oriented

Long-term Thinking

Short-term Thinking



Makes a Commitment

Makes Excuses

It’s Done!

I’m Doubting!



Christ did not quit on the cross. Paul did not give up preaching the Gospel when he was thrown into jail. Daniel did not stop praying when he was trapped in the lions’ den. It is easy to give up when it gets tough. However, when it gets tough and we press on, God is glorified. Our goal is to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus so we finish strong.

Father, help me when things get tough.

At times, I feel like I am going under and I want to quit. Show me the blessing that is waiting for me. It is hard to be faithful in times of pain and struggle. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit, so others will see You in times of trouble. Thank You for the strain, Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.