HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
April 16, 2007, Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

Nails in the fence

Pastor Phillip Goeffrion, Albion Evangelical Free Church, Cokato

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper.

His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.

The first day, the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally, the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.

He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same.

“When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there.”

A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one. No wonder the Apostle James declares in James 3.2: “We all make many mistakes, but those who can control their tongues can also control themselves in every other way.”

The next time you are tempted to say something in anger, remember you do have a choice. With Christ’s help and your determination, you can hold your tongue.

Or, better yet, you can forgive and let go of your anger. Then, you’ll feel the release and you’ll have nothing to regret – no holes in the fence!


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