Toothpaste

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Many years ago in my Bible Studies class at school our teacher split us into pairs and gave us all a tube of toothpaste.  The task? To squeeze out the entire contents of the tube and then to get all that toothpaste back into the tube.  The conclusion?  It was impossible to get it all back in and extremely messy.  He used this hands on task as an analogy of the words we speak.  Often our words come out before we’ve taken time to think.  They’re harsh, hurtful, and can leave a bit of a mess.  Just like the toothpaste can’t be put back in the tube, so we can’t take our words back once spoken.  An apology can clear up some of the damage, but it’s still not a pretty sight.  I was reminded of this lesson at the weekend when once again I fell short of speaking words that were uplifting, gentle and kind.  It bothers me when people try to dictate to me how I should raise my daughter or think they know best what we need to be buying for her (the power of advertising is a wonderful thing!), and, on this particular occasion, I lost my patience and my cool.  I spoke words that were unkind and sharp and disrespectful.  It’s been messy ever since as I deal with the aftermath of regret and guilt in my heart.  And suddenly I was taken back about 13 or 14 years to that lesson and the toothpaste.  From here on out, I will try and keep that in my mind as a reminder to keep my words soft and friendly…life is much more pleasant that way!  May we all remember the analogy every day as we pick up the toothpaste to clean our teeth….nasty words cannot be taken back, and we’d all rather hear kindness than rudeness.  Let’s go bless someone’s life today with kindness and love from our mouths.

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