Words and Toothpaste

by Mike Harvey, Children's Pastor


Growing up, there were lots of phrases that I remember hearing and I even remember them to this day.  Some of them still ring true today, but the one I remember the most is the one that is probably the most untrue of all.  You likely remember hearing someone say, “Sticks and Stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you.”  As you might already know, that phrase is incredibly false because words do hurt and they are very powerful. The Bible talks a lot about our words and how they can either tear down or build up. 

As a parent and Kid’s Pastor, I am always looking for creative and simple ways to communicate God’s truth so that kids can understand them and can remember them.  When I was in 5th grade, I remember my Sunday School teacher showing up to our class on a Sunday morning with a tube of toothpaste and he began to talk to us about the power of our words.  To this day, I love to share this illustration with kids, but it’s also an amazing reminder and challenge for people of any age. 


Imagine if you squeezed all the toothpaste out of the tube, and it was on a saucer in front of you. Now try and put that toothpaste back in the tube. Of course, you can’t; once the toothpaste is squeezed out you can’t put it back. The same is true of our words. Words can’t be taken and put back in our mouths. Even if someone demands for us to “take what we’ve just said back, we can’t. You can’t put the words you have just spoken back in your mouth any more than you can squeeze toothpaste back into a tube.


Which makes me think that we really should be more careful of the words we say, because our words carry the power of life and death in them. We can build up, encourage, love, and bring wisdom and grace with our words; or we can tear down, destroy, hate, fear and spout absolute rubbish.


But God wants our words to be words that are filled with life. That our words are seasoned with grace, love, and hope so that people love being around us because our words lift up and encourage them so much.

The bible says that out of the mouth the heart speaks, so it’s important for us to deal with our hearts; to forgive quickly, keep out of the way of offense, and to fill our hearts with those things that are good, true, praiseworthy, and worth thinking about. For what we allow into our hearts, and what we think upon, is what we are going to say.


“A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” (Luke 6:45)


A helpful little acronym is to “THINK” before we speak:

T – is it True?

H – is it Helpful?

I – is it Inspiring?

N- is it Necessary?

K – is it Kind?


So today, let’s be reminded of the power of our words and consider the value to the listener of the words we speak. Let us pray that God will help us to not underestimate how much good and bad our words can cause to both ourself and those listening to us.  Pray that God will remind us to guard our heart, for out of our heart, the mouth speaks, so that our speech will be full of life-giving words today.


 “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord.”(Psalm 19:14).