Nails in the Fence

A wooden gate full of rusted nails with the words: "Nails in the Fence. Words have power. They leave holes. Choose your words carefully."
by Beeda Speis for Peace in the Stillness blog

I had a landlady who was a very devout Christian, (in her opinion). She and my (first) husband didn’t get along at all. It was basically a power struggle, but words were often exchanged. When she was at the end of her rope, she sent him a letter with the following story–Nails in the Fence:

There once was a little boy who had a very bad temper. One day, after an angry outburst, 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 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, removed from the fence.
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 the nails have in this fence. 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.”
The little boy then understood how powerful his words were. He looked up at his father and said, “I hope you can forgive me, father, for the holes I put in you.”
“Of course I can,” said the father.
~ Author Unknown

Neither the landlady nor my husband ever apologized for anything they said to each other, so neither forgave the other. After my husband died, it took me years to heal from his verbal abuse toward me. As a Christian, I wanted to forgive him but those “holes” were like fresh wounds every time I was reminded of something he said. It was even more difficult to forgive him since he never apologized for any of it. What I finally realized was that, until I forgave him, I could never heal.

Words have power. They leave holes. Choose your words carefully.

Bible Verse of the Day

it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” Matthew 15:11 ESVA photo of a man. You can see his breath. Above him are the words to Matthew 15:11 ESV

Read also:

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 12:18 ESV


Lord, we pray for healing from old wounds, from those holes left by the piercing sword thrusts; words spoken out of anger, frustration, or hatred. Please help those who are holding onto the past to let go and move on, surrounded by Your loving Spirit.
Lord, please hold tight to the people of Ukraine. Please end the war. We pray these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Stay up to date with Peace in the Stillness Ministries. I’m always working on something new. You don’t want to miss it. Check it out.

Spread the love

1 thought on “Nails in the Fence”

  1. Pingback: Giant Despair » Peace in the Stillness Ministries

Comments are closed.