I shared this story some years ago, but after reading it again, it still made me think about the truth that the story contains. So I thought I’d share it again and hope, even if you read it before, it will still impress you with its message.


There was this young lad who lost his temper very easily. No matter how much his father tried to instruct him on holding his temper, it just didn’t seem to take effect. So one day his father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must go out and hammer a nail into the wooden fence that ran along the backyard, no matter what the weather may be.

The first day alone the boy drove 17 nails into the fence. But over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered that every time he started to lose his temper he remembered that he would have to go out and drive a nail into the fence when it was cold, dark, and raining.

Finally, the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He was so proud that he ran to tell his father the good news. So after his dad complimented him, he told his son that each day that he kept from losing his temper he could go out and remove a nail from the fence. That way, no one could ask what all those nails were doing in the back fence?

It took a little longer than expected because each time the boy did lose his temper he had to go out and drive in a new nail. After days and days passed, believe it or not, the day finally came when he was able to report that all the nails were gone. His dad’s smile made him feel so proud. “Well done,” his father said, “but now let me show you the whole reason why I had to drive in and pull out those nails.”

So he took his son by the hand and led him out to the fence. He said, “You’ve done a great job, son. I’m so proud of you. But look at all the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave scars just like these holes in the wood. And it doesn’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound will be there a long time before it finally heals.

The little boy then understood how powerful this lesson was. He looked up at his father and said, “I hope you can forgive me for all the holes I put in you.” “Of course I can,” said the father. “You see, my love for you will help those holes to heal. But I have to tell you that while forgiveness may come easy for some people, the scars caused by those nails of anger may never go away.

But there is one part that is not in this story, and that is the healing power of God’s love. Human love is great but not as great as God’s love. When we have God’s love in us, it not only heals the wounds made by other people’s anger, but it can also remove the scars. And the reason why is because those scars are carried by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The love that brought the nail prints in His hands is powerful enough to remove the scars in our hearts caused by others. Just remember His words: “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.” – Dr. Robert R Seyda

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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