I heard the most incredible story today – a lesson someone’s mom taught them as a child. So good, in fact, is this story that I just had to share. I can’t take credit for it. I would have never thought to do this, but oh my goodness – what a powerful lesson!
This particular mom sat all three of her children down at the kitchen table. She gave each of them a paper plate and a tube of toothpaste. She told the kids to squeeze their tubes of toothpaste onto the plate, emptying every bit of it out.
After each of the tubes was squeezed empty, she placed in the center of the table a crisp $20 bill, promising them that whoever was able to get all of their toothpaste back into the tube would win the money! They all frowned and moaned, knowing full well how impossible the task at hand was.
That’s when she explained that the most powerful muscle in our bodies is the tongue, and that the words we carelessly let roll off of our tongues can never be taken back. Just like the toothpaste cannot go back into the tube – the hurt we cause can also never be undone. Oh sure, the words can be forgiven, but the hurt caused by those words cannot be undone. My Pastor always asks us “What spills out of you when you get bumped?”
Our tongues can be just as powerful to make someone feel good about themselves, to let them know they are loved, to make someone smile, or to turn an entire day around for someone whose day might have started out pretty crummy.
Whether you’re 10, 25, 55, or 75 – you can use your words to lift up someone who is sad, encourage someone who feels down, or tear someone down using your tongue to gossip, bully and belittle someone, tell the truth or tell a lie. It’s up to us. But just like that tube of toothpaste, it’s unlikely we can ever un-do what our tongues have done. That can be good or bad, so we should choose wisely.
Most importantly, our tongues have the power to tell those around us their worth to us. What are your words telling those closest to you?
I think I’ll go brush my teeth now 😉
“Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.” Proverbs 21:23