Inspirational Christian Stories

Nails In a Fence

There once was a young boy with a very bad temper. The boy’s father wanted to teach him a lesson, so he gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper he must hammer a nail into their wooden fence.

On the first day of this lesson, the little boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. He was really mad!

Over the course of the next few weeks, the little boy began to control his anger, so the number of nails that were hammered into the fence dramatically decreased.

It wasn’t long before the little boy discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Then, the day finally came when the little boy didn’t lose his temper even once, and he became so proud of himself, he couldn’t wait to tell his father.

Pleased, his father suggested that he now pull out one nail for each day that he could hold his temper.

Several weeks went by and the day finally came when the young boy was able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.

Very gently, the father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.

“You have done very well, my son,” he smiled, “but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same.”

The little boy listened carefully as his father continued to speak.

“When you say things in anger, they leave permanent scars just like these. And no matter how many times you say you’re sorry, the wounds will still be there.”

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

– James 1:19-20

Anger is a natural human emotion and perhaps one of the most destructive if not handled in the right way. It can erupt in moments of stress, misunderstanding, or injustice, igniting a fire that risks harming ourselves and those around us. The key to mastering this emotion lies not in its suppression but in its transformation through faith and wisdom.

This short story of a nails in a fence offers rich themes of temperance, forgiveness, and the impact of our actions in our lives. We are often confronted with situations that challenge our patience and test our character. Much like a young boy with a bag of nails and a wooden fence, we too face the daily task of managing our reactions and emotions in the face of provocation.

Take some time to reflect today about the nails we could be hammering into the fence? Are we allowing certain situations and emotions to take hold of us? Or have we entrusted our lives to the care of Jesus?

Self-Control Is The Key

The boy’s initial struggle with anger is a mirror to our own experiences. Each nail driven into the fence symbolizes moments when our words or actions, dictated by unbridled emotions, leave lasting marks on the hearts and lives of others. The ease with which the boy hammered the nails into the fence parallels how swiftly we can cause harm when we give in to anger.

The most poignant moment of the story arrives when the father points out the holes left in the fence. Despite the nails having been removed previously, the scars remain. This powerful imagery reminds us that our actions and words carry an impact that can leave lasting marks in our lives if not handled correctly.

When confronted with situations that invoke feelings of anger & hatred. Remember this short story, and turn your mind towards the Lord before making any decision that may cause regret and hurt in the future.

The Power of a Gentle Response

Proverbs 15:1 further illuminates the way: “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” In the face of provocation, a gentle response is both a shield and a beacon that can deflect the arrows of anger and guiding the lost back to a place of mutual respect & calm. Our words have the power to heal or to hurt; choosing the former aligns us with the divine love that flows from the heart of God.

The path to overcoming anger is paved with the virtues of patience and forgiveness. Patience allows us to endure provocations and trials without losing our peace, while forgiveness frees us from the chains of resentment & bitterness – opening our hearts to God’s renewing grace.

Overcoming the urge to act out in anger is a journey of continuous transformation, one that requires constant vigilance, prayer, and reliance on the Lord. As Catholics, we are called to this path not just for our own peace, but as a witness to the peace and love of Christ in the world.

In our daily lives, let us strive to be vessels of God’s peace, anchoring ourselves in His love and wisdom, and extending the calm of His presence to all we encounter. Through the grace of God, our hearts can remain steadfast in peace, reflecting the light of Christ’s love even in the stormiest of seas.

Share this post on: