How often in life does my temper get the better of me? More than I would care to admit. That’s for sure. I came across a story several years ago that really spoke to me.
There once was a 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 that 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 nail 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 will still be there.”
In Proverbs 16:32, we read, “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty…” This verse is just one of many that the Bible gives in regard to the tongue. In my own life my words have gotten me into such trouble. Just as we are to guard our hearts; we are also to guard our mouth. The psalmist, David, declared, “Lord, keep the door of my lips…” How many holes have we left in another person in a fit of anger? This question is why it is so important to guard or “bridle” our tongue. A verbal wound can bring as much or more pain than a physical wound.
May this prayer be on all our lips:
Lord, Please make my words sweet today for tomorrow I may have to eat them.