Toothpaste & Words

December 20, 2004
Today’s Devotional Tidbit – Toothpaste & Words
James 3:1-12

Words, words, words, we hear a lot of them at this time of the year. A lot of people are wishing us well, but not everyone. Have you heard some unkind or impolite words lately? I have, and you may have too. I might have even said some of those words, how ‘bout you?

Well, you might be thinking, “What in the world can toothpaste and words have in common?” Let’s look closely at the origins of toothpaste and words. Where does toothpaste come from? Well, the simple answer is a tube of toothpaste.  Where do words come from? Of course, they come from the mouth. Don’t you see the similarity? Well, just try squeezing toothpaste out of a tube and putting it back inside. You’ll find it quite difficult if not impossible. Try doing the same with your words. Once words come out of your mouth, try to put them back inside; it can’t be done. If you say something that is mean and rotten, you can always say, “I’m sorry,” but the damage is most likely already done.

Not only should we be careful of what we say, but we should also be careful in how we say things. For example, we can make a comment about someone’s face by saying one of the following: 1) “Your face could stop a clock” or 2) “You have a face that makes time stand still.” Both statements refer to time and to someone’s face, but which would you prefer to hear?

In the Bible we can turn to James chapter 3 to read about our tongue and its power. James says the tongue is small but makes great boasts (3:5); he calls it a fire (3:6); a world of evil (3:6); we praise God with our tongue (3:9); we curse men with our tongue (3:9). One of the most meaningful things James says about the tongue is found in James 3:10-“Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.” 

Simply put, tongues cause trouble. We see signs such as, “Beware of Dog,” and “Trespassers will be Shot.” My mom even saw a sign that read, “My Bull can cross this pasture in 3.5 seconds, can you?”  I think each of us should also wear a sign. It should read, “Beware, I have a tongue and I have yet to tame it.”  Unless we are a perfect Christian, we all have our little bouts of “untamedtongueitis.”  Shouldn’t we all be very careful of the tube of toothpaste we actually are?

Especially during this special time of the year, this sometimes very stressful time of the year, we should spend more time with our heavenly Father each day asking for help in restraining our tongues. 

God bless y’all,
Brian Humek

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