“So then, my beloved brethren, 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)
How many times have we been guilty of rashly speaking words in anger, only to later regret them? The phrase, “If only I could take it back!” has been repeated millions of times. And although we may apologize for our callous remarks, the “damage” may not heal for some time. The story below illustrates this point very well.
There was a young boy that possessed a terrible temper, frequently causing him to say malicious and hateful words to siblings, friends and even his parents. Following countless scoldings and time-outs, his father, weary of the boy's verbal tirades, took stronger measures. Subsequently, every time his son lost his temper, his father would give him a long nail to hammer into the old fence in the back yard.
The first day the boy drove no less than 37 nails into the fence. That night, his hands and arms ached terribly and his body was exhausted. He then realized that it might be easier to hold his temper than to drive those long nails into the old fence. Promptly learning his lesson, the number of nails he drove into the fence declined rapidly.
Eventually the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. His father commended him, and then suggested that the boy pull out one nail for each day that he was able to control his temper.
Although it took several months, the boy finally announced that all the nails were gone. The appreciative father took his wiser son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, "You have done well, son, and I am proud of you. But I want you to remember something. Look at all the holes you left in the fence. Although it still stands, it will never be the same. And it is the same when you say something in anger. Your words will leave scars just like the holes in the fence. Even if you are sorry and ask for forgiveness, the “holes” may remain for years. So always be careful with your words."
“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!