Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Be slow to anger

A boy and the nails on the fence
There once was a little boy who had a bad temper.  His father was very concerned for his son’s future and thought hard about how he could explain to his son why relationships are so important and controlling his temper is a key factor in this.
After much thought his father gave him a bag full of nails and told him,  “Every time you lose your temper,  hammer a nail into the back of the fence.”  His son did not understand but knew that his father was wise so he agreed.
On the first day that the boy received his bag of nails he ended up driving about  37 nails into the fence.  Each day he learned little by little to control his temper.   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 was very proud of himself and went to share his good news with his father.  His Father was very proud of him and offered a challenge to his son.  “Why don’t you pull out a nail everyday that you are able to hold your temper?”
As there were many nails in the fence it took the boy sometime to finally remove the nails from the fence.  But eventually that joyous day arrived.  He was so pleased with himself and he wanted to share this with his father.

His father was so proud of his son, but he wanted him to understand that holding his temper was more than just being able to add or remove nails from a fence.  He took his son’s hand and showed him all the holes that were left from the nails.  “As you see my son, this fence will never be the same, the fence is scarred with holes from your temper.  Think of these holes as the words you have spoken in anger, the wounds you have left in people’s lives.  Words really are like weapons they leave a wound, that does not heal easily.  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. Son, your family and friends will  make you smile and encourage you to succeed,  they will lend an ear,  share words of praise and they want to open their hearts to you.  Always remember the fence before you speak words of anger.”

In James, the Bible tells us that we are to be slow to anger, which is EXCELLENT advice.  I have to admit that I personally struggle with this at different times in my life.  It usually crops back up when life becomes stressful. And because I am not even close to perfect, I have passed this down to my children by them watching my actions of anger at times.  I have been working to teach my children, especially my son, that the words that he says can never be taken back. So I'm posting this not only to share with all of you but to encourage my readers to be slow to anger.  You can make a difference in your own life & in those around you & in turn, being slow to anger can spread to make this world a better place to live.  Being angry isn't what causes the problem....its your reaction to that anger that is usually the problem.  Now I must lead by example.

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