Have you ever squeezed the toothpaste too much and all that white glob spills over the sides of the toothbrush?
I try to prop it back on top of the brush only to leave it oozing down the side again. I think, “it will be okay. This isn’t that much toothpaste.” I begin brushing my teeth only to feel as if fluoride-infested ice cream is floating around my gums and my taste buds just can’t take it any longer.
The very next day, the same thing happens. Why do I squeeze the toothpaste with so much force? So I try desperately to do like a reverse squeeze; you know, like try to open up the tube from the bottom in hopes there will be some kind of sucking of air IN versus pushing of toothpaste out.
I put just a little on the top of the tube and hold the tube upright thinking perhaps gravity can force that little gritty white paste back into the tube. Maybe a toothpick can shove it down in. And then I come to grips….
It is NOT gonna happen.
There is no getting that toothpaste back in that tube. I tried every angle, every scientific method my bathroom sink had to offer. The toothpaste is out and will not go back in.
That’s how our words can be. We say things out of anger or just because our mouth sets in action before our brains and out come those words. Words of hurt or defense. Words of expressing our opinions in forceful manners. Words that don’t express our Christian values but instead ooze out of our mouth from our sinful heart.
We’ve all done it.
We’ve all tried to backpedal.
We’ve all apologized.
We’ve all deleted our comment on social media.
We’ve all asked for forgiveness.
But there is no putting those words back in our mouth to reverse the action that has already happened. They’re toothpaste words. They can’t be put back in the tube.
The good thing is that people can forgive. God will forgive. And we can learn valuable lessons for next time.
Ephesians 4:29 – Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
It’s hard, especially in today’s highly-sensitive climate, to not let those words ooze out of our mouths before we think. But once they’re out, we can’t take them back.
I challenge you to come along with me this week to be extra cautious about our words; to be very mindful of the things we say and the way we say them. We should ask ourselves before we speak, “is this something that will build others up or tear others down?” If it’s not to build others up, don’t speak it.
Because once those words are out, no matter how much we try, they cannot squeeze back into the tube.