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 he hammered every day gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive all those nails into the fence every day. 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.

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

The father said, "You have done well, my son, but look at all 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. If you stick a knife into a man then draw it out, it doesn'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. Friends are a very rare jewel indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share words of praise and they always want to open their hearts to us.

Life Quest Commentary:

The story is a very powerful word-picture that should cause us to take notice and consider the impact of the things we say.

Managing our tempers and our tongues (the words we speak) is an ongoing battle for us all. The story leaves us with an indelible vision of the permanent damage and scars our actions and words can cause. This of course is not only applicable with respect to our friends but to everyone that is impacted by our actions and words.

Ultimately, consider that the crucifixion scars and the nail holes in the hands and feet of our Savior, Jesus, are the result of sinful actions and damaging things we have all said. Jesus died for our sins, not His own.

Isaiah tells us concerning our Savior:

53:3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

53:4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.

53:5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.

53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

53:7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.

53:8 He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.

53:9 And they made His grave with the wicked-- But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.

53:10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.

53:11 He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities.

53:12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.

While malicious words can leave terrible scars, it is equally true that words of encouragement, support, comfort, and Biblically based edification & exhortation can have a positive impact on those to whom they are addressed! Kind and supportive words can bring hope, comfort and new direction to a hurting and needy person. Sharing the gospel shines spiritual light and can result in their salvation!

If your words have impaled or left a hole in someone's fence, please seek to heal the breach. Then, remember to choose your words wisely so more fence repairs aren't necessary in the future!

For more information about controlling anger and the tongue, please visit the Food for Thought topic, the Tongue

The important question is, "Do you understand that Jesus took your place? He died on the cross, taking the penalty for our sins upon Himself, so that we could receive forgiveness of our sins and the gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus!

If you have understood that Jesus died in your place and have already received His gift of eternal life, Praise the Lord!!

If not, why not receive Him right now?

We encourage you to refer to the LIFEQUEST "Food for Thought" topics of Salvation and Gospel which will further explain what He has done for you, how much God loves you and show you how to receive Jesus as your Savior and Lord.

God bless you and have a great day!