Saturday, April 7, 2007

Keep the Toothpaste in the Tube


Many years ago I heard some words of wisdom and I have tried to live by them, ever since they penetrated my soul. My father had always told us, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all." That is good advice, except, that to a child, that leaves no room for learning how to express negative feelings. We must learn to be angry or hurt without saying hurtful things.

Then, one day I heard an analogy that made things very clear to me. Suppose our words are like toothpaste. Once toothpaste is out of the tube-it's out! You can try to put it back in, but that would just make a big mess. It's the same with our words-once they're out of our mouths-they're out. They can build people up or tear them down.  We can try to take them back when we've hurt someone, but the mess has already been made. We can say that we're sorry and the person that we've said them to, can forgive us, but the damage is already done. Now, whomever we've hurt is going to have to heal and deal with a wound and a scar that we've caused.

If you have ever been on the receiving end of hurtful words then you know what I mean. Long after the "sting" is gone, you have to work at overcoming the hurt that they caused.  The Bible says that the tongue holds the power of life and death. What if that's true? Could it be that the words I speak to someone could actually bring life to them? Or cause something in them to die? That is very powerful and sobering.

When you think about the developing psyche of a precious child, who is learning about their own self worth and the worth of others, it should give you pause before you speak. When you consider your spouse, who sees him or herself through your eyes, it should make you wonder if your words build them up or tear them down.  I hope that when I speak to my family, friends, co-workers and even strangers, that I'm not creating a mess that I can't clean up. I hope that I can keep my toothpaste in the tube!!



From His lap,

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