The Fence

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Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath.”

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 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. “I have learned my lesson,” he said triumphantly. The father took his son by the hand and said, “You have done well, but there is still one final lesson to be learned.” He led him to the fence and said, “Look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same again. 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.

Make sure you control your temper the next time you are tempted to say something you will regret. That is why Jesus said ‘anger was in the same spirit as murder.’ That is why the Bible says elsewhere, “let not the sun go down on your wrath.” The next time we need to ask forgiveness for our temper, be humbled by the thought of the damage we have caused.