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Don't Brush Teeth with a Toilet Brush

Don’t brush your teeth with the toilet brush!

That’s the message on a label of a winning entry in the Wacky Warning Label Contest sponsored by Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch. The contest publicizes the silliness that supposedly results from a manufacturer’s fear of being sued. Among the other notable entries:

  • A label on a baby stroller warns: “Remove child before folding

  • A fishing lure with a three-pronged hook warns: “Harmful if swallowed.”

  • A scooter for children warns: "This product moves when used."

  • A dishwasher cautions: “Do not allow children to play in the dishwasher.”

  • An electric drill for carpenters cautions: “This product not intended for use as a dental drill.”

And, then there was the label on the toilet brush saying, “Do not use for personal hygiene.” Would it seem that common sense would take care of all these concerns? Maybe. Maybe not. You wouldn’t think we would need a warning saying “Do not forget your soul” either, but perhaps we do.

While we wouldn’t brush with the toilet brush, we do brush. About 98% of American adults brush their teeth at least once a day. Yet, only 75% pray at least once per week. Just 34% read the Bible during a typical week, and only 35% attend church once per week. Why is that?

Are we more concerned about our dental health than our spiritual health? Maybe that means dentists have promoted oral hygiene extremely well. Or, maybe it’s an indictment that we preachers haven’t done so well convincing people of the benefits of religion. (By the way, research shows that churchgoers have fewer hospital stays, longer life expectancy, longer marriages, and children who perform better in school, not to mention the spiritual benefits.)

Or maybe, it’s that people have always been more concerned with how they look instead of who they really are. Jesus accused religious leaders in his day of being “like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean” (Matthew 23:27).

It is always easier, I suppose, to polish our teeth than it is to shine our souls. But our teeth, as important as they are, will not last forever. Our souls - the real person inside these decaying bodies - will.

“Don’t ignore your soul.” Not a wacky warning at all.


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