Tooth Paste



A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. Knowledge flows like spring water from the wise; fools are leaky faucets, dripping nonsense. Proverbs 15:1-2


I know some of you may have been intrigued by the title alone and wondered just what was I going to say about “toothpaste”. Well I wrote a little song about it and here it goes!  While reading Proverbs 15 this morning, it took me a while to get past the first two verses. Considering we launched our June WORD Series yesterday, ‘Dealing With The Emojis Of Life’, with the message ‘Lord, Sit Me Down Before I Set It Off’, I believe you can see why this scripture was so intriguing!  While we will discuss the steps of ‘How To Sit Down’ Wednesday, this scripture suggests that I can control anger filled situations with my choice of words!  While the thought of this scripture may seem difficult for some of us to grasp, really forcing us to think before we speak, it is one we should consider working towards.  Many of you know I haven’t always been a Lead Pastor, I began as a Youth Pastor and at times this was difficult because when I started I was a kid myself. Let’s just say I learned a lot by trial and error. Since I didn’t know much in the beginning I bought books that could help. One of my favorite books included actual lesson ideas and illustrations. Well I still have that book, and I believe the illustration below will help us look at how dangerous our words can be if we can’t control them in heated situations.

Imagine a bunch of kids. In this case they were Sunday School kids just about to be dismissed from the congregation to go to their classrooms. The items needed for that days activity was a table spoon, a stopwatch, a dinner plate and a tube of toothpaste. The goal of the exercise was to see how fast the toothpaste could be squeezed out of the tube and on to the plate. So I asked who wanted to squeeze the tube of toothpaste and everyone’s hand went up! When they were asked to pick one of their peers, they opted to pick one of the larger, stronger kids in the group. The others were encouraged to cheer their champion on!

“GO!” The clock is ticking and the toothpaste began to pour out of the tube at a high rate of speed. Twenty seconds into the exercise, the parents and other adults are now apart of the cheering squad! As the tube became more and more empty, the going got a little tougher. At 69 seconds, the goal was reached and the tube was empty. Everyone was applauding and excited.

Now the spoon was given to one of the kids and the stop watch was cleared. Everyone waits for the second part of the event. In confusion some thought, “What do we do with the spoon?” The next step of the exercise was to identify how long it would take to get ALL the toothpaste back into the tube! Imagine the laughter that followed. The new assignment on the surface was simple to reverse the process, but to actually get the toothpaste back into the tube was impossible!   

In light of the kid’s assignment, have you ever said something out of anger or unthinking and it shot out like toothpaste, but after you saw the damage it caused you wished you could take it back? You can apologize all you want, but the words are out. The other person may indeed know you didn’t really mean it, but the pain is still very real. Just like it seemingly take a lifetime to get the toothpaste back into the empty tube, it will take time for the words to lose their sting. There are times when it is better to just walk away and say nothing. When someone is just not understanding what you are saying, when they are unreasonable, or when you feel your emotions getting the best of you, it is probably time to step back and calm down. The far wiser move is to take the time and deal with things when everyone has had a chance to cool off, than to need far more time for wounds from angry words to heal.  

So today, remember the caution we received yesterday from James,

19 Remember this, my dear brothers and sisters: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and should not get angry easily. James 1:19 GWT

Pastor J


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