“…let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” (James 1:19-20)
Have you ever spoken words in anger, only to regret them afterwards? Who hasn’t? Millions of people sigh daily, “If only I could take those words back!” And even if we apologize for our callous remarks, the “damage” we inflict may linger for some time. The following story illustrates this point.
A young boy possessed a frightful temper, causing him to utter hateful words to siblings, friends and even his parents. Following countless rebukes accompanied by extra chores, his father decided to employ a different tactic. Every time his son uttered a stinging remark, his father would give him a long nail, and then instruct him to hammer it into the old fence out back.
The first day the boy drove 37 nails into the fence. That night, his hands and arms ached terribly and he felt exhausted. He then realized that it would be easier to hold his tongue rather than to keep driving nails into the fence. Quickly learning his lesson, the number of nails he drove into the fence declined rapidly.
Eventually, the boy was able to keep his tongue in check for an entire day. After commending him, his father instructed the boy to yank out one nail for each day that he was able to restrain his temper and words.
Although it took several months, the boy finally announced that all the nails were gone. The wise father then led his son to the old fence. He said, "You’ve done well, son, and I’m proud of you. But there’s still an important lesson for you to learn. See all the holes in the fence? Although the nails are gone, the fence is permanently blemished. In the same way, unkind words often leave holes in hearts. Even if you ask for forgiveness, the “scars” may remain for years. Remember that whenever you are tempted to say something cruel ."
“There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health.” (Proverbs 12:18)
Jesus, always Jesus!