“You can’t spit and swallow at the same time.”
What? It’s easy to get distracted attempting to accomplish this. YOU CAN’T DO IT! IT IS PHYSIOLOGICALLY IMPOSSIBLE!
As is true for all proverbs, a hidden meaning exists in this compilation of words. Also, we must remember, a proverb can have different interpretations in different settings.
One potential scenario for applying this particular proverb occurs when you find yourself face to face with someone who is very angry. Whether you will find yourself in a situation where people are angry with you, someone else, or even God, this proverb lends wisdom. The angry person spews out his thoughts with tons of emotion and an ounce of reason. When emotions, whether good or bad, enter a discussion, logic takes a short, or sometimes very long, vacation. Often, at those moments, we are tempted to jump right in and offer an irrefutable (at least in our minds) solution to the dilemma.
As presented in this proverb, when someone is “spitting” the venom of fury he absolutely cannot “swallow” advice, no matter how logical or biblically sound it is.
“You can’t spit and swallow at the same time” teaches valuable lessons for such a scenario. Listen carefully. Be patient. Wait for the calm to come. Then, offer your advice. Any response prior to this point may be met with more “spit.” Surely, we wish to avoid that.
James 1:19 puts this into perspective: “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”