Remember Mr. Whipple?
You may not if you are much younger than I am, or if like my wife you weren’t raised in the U.S. He was a reoccurring character on Charmin toilet paper commercials. He ran a grocery store that sold Charmin. I never knew what the big deal was but his main job seemed to be to hang out on the toilet paper aisle and stop people with his famous line, “Please. don’t squeeze the Charmin!”
I grew up hearing Don’t, don’t don’t when it came to squeezing that stuff. Well, as it turns out, every time I went to the store with my Mom…. you guessed it. I made up some excuse to “go look at something” and ran to the paper isle and squeezed the Charmin like a orange! I didn’t want to be a bad kid, but I knew of all the sins I could have chosen to refuse there was one I HAD TO give in to! I HAD TO SQUEEZE THE CHARMIN!
Now you are asking yourself, “Why in the world would he tell us this?” Well I saw something the other day that reminded me of it and my mind took off on me. It skipped down memory lane and right to isle three. Have you ever noticed the people that speak the loudest about the “don’ts” seem to be the ones that fall into it the deepest? Someone lecturing about liars is usually seeing what they hate in themselves and pointing that sin out in other in order to hide the guilt.
Deren Brown is a British T.V. star. He is a “mentalist”. His act is to use suggestion and other natural means to cause people to do things that they normally never would consider doing. On his show he brings a lady into a room that has a glass box with a small kitten in it. He then shows her a button on the table and tells her if she hits the button it will electrocute the kitten. With that knowledge her only job was to NOT hit the button. Pretty easy huh?
He then spends a few minutes giving her negative suggestive cues. Reminding her of when she was mischievous as a child and telling her “don’t hit the button” several times. He does several things to condition her and then leaves to room with a 2 minute timer running. With only 1 second left on the timer, she hits the button.
Why? In Romans 7:14-21 Paul shows us what this struggle looks like;
“We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”
Yes, we can be talked into almost anything, but the biggest reason is this “war” Paul talks about. Mr. Whipple wanted me to think about his brand of toilet paper as “squeezably soft, and Deren Brown wanted to push the lady into hitting the button. Satan wants us to give in to the pressures he puts on us. These “negative suggestions” are used to force our attention to the things around us. It preys on our sinful nature. It could be we look at all the bad and hard things in our life and we become consumed by them and take our eyes off of the only one who can help, Jesus. It could be that we fight that weakness and sinful desire so much that we focus on it and the focus to NOT do something is enough temptation to cause us to give in, exhausted and beaten. We can’t look at the negative so much that we lose sight of the positive!
So what then? How do we teach ourselves and our children to fight this “war” Paul talks about? If we shouldn’t preach what is wrong how will we know? We should absolutely teach and preach what is wrong! BUT we should focus on what is right and good.
The same Paul shows us the answer as well. Phil 4:8
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
When the world is attacking us, when we are pressured by sinful desires, when we are surrounded by the things we are to avoid and defeat, we can only do so in the power of the Holy Spirit while focusing on Jesus. So worship through the tears, praise in the pain, and read the word when all you hear is the voice of the evil one.
Stop listening to “don’t squeeze the Charmin, don’t hit the button, don’t take that drink, don’t visit that website, don’t flirt with that coworker…” Spend your energy and focus instead on the power of Jesus’ love to heal and mend. Spend your time and thoughts on the victory promised us by God through the Holy Spirit! Read, pray, sing, worship, fast, and bury yourself in Him! Look away from the waves and stand on the sea, walking victoriously hand in hand with the one who made the seas. Its God’s fight anyway, we need only to step out of the way and watch Him fight it for us.
Here is the link to watch Deren Brown’s experiment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2YSNm66sQQ