The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.— Proverbs 12:18
A young boy with a bad temper was pushing his father to the limits. So one day, his dad handed the youngster a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper and said something unkind, he would have to drive a nail into the back fence.
On the first day alone, the little boy drove 37 nails into the fence. By the end of the week, the poor fence looked like it had been strafed with a nail gun. But with sore muscles and blisters on his hands, the boy soon realized that it was easier to hold his temper – and his tongue – than to drive nails into the fence.
Finally, the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it proudly, and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day he held his temper.
The days passed until eventually the boy had pulled each and every nail out of the fence.
Putting his arm around the boy as they gazed at the fence now riddled with holes, the father said, “You’ve done well, son. But look at the damage to this fence. That’s exactly what anger and unkind words do the people around us. You can say you’re sorry, but a scar will always remain where you drove the nail in.”
Have you driven a nail in anger this week? The Bible says in Proverbs 18:21 that words have the power to breathe life or death into a person’s day. Unfortunately, too often we use our tongue to drive nails, and the scars our words leave behind are painful reminders of our mistakes.
But today you can use your words to heal. Today, you can speak life. And when your words are filled with the love of Christ, there’s no telling how God can use you to transform someone’s day.
Ask God to give you opportunities to speak His life and love into someone’s day. And pray for the right words to say that will point others towards Jesus.
Questions for thought
Why do you think words are so powerful? Can you think of a time when someone’s words tore you down or lifted you up?
Who are some people you encounter every day whom you could encourage today with your words?