Nails In The Fence and the Wicked Tongue


anger-nails-in-the-fenceI really don’t like talking about the tongue, do you?  Yet the bible, the blueprint for our life, has so much to say about it. 

 Gentle words are a tree of life a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit;  , Proverbs 15:4 NLT

Have you ever been in the company of an angry person?  Have you been the brunt of their issues being lashed out at you? Have you been tempted yourself to just give in to your baser self and say whatever you want to say, in spite of who hears it?  

The bible says a lot about out of control anger and our tongues are a major part of venting our emotions.  

In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches, but a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.
  James 3:5 NLT

 But no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.  James 3:8 NLT

There is a story that always worked to remind me to call on self control when I am the angriest and wanting to indulge myself and let my words fling over whoever is standing there.


“There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. 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.
holes from nailsFinally 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.
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 this one. 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.” Author Unknown

I have had so many toxic words spoken over me and to me throughout my life. I remember one time my precious and favorite grandma, whom I had spent all my summers with growing up, was losing her mental faculties after having a heart attack.  I was a young mom and had so many loving memories with grandma.  I had always felt she was my one family member who always had my back.  One day she called me right before her death. 

She started telling me that I didn’t know anything and that “I was uglier than home-made soap”.I could hear my grandpa yelling at her to stop in the background.

I will never forget those words.  My intellect told me she wasn’t herself, but the words cut like a knife.  I knew she would never say those things to me, but yet, she did, and the words have never left me.  Of course I forgave and the memories I have of her are good.  But I still have the memory of those words floating in my head and still feel the sting at hearing those words come out of my trusted and loved grandma’s mouth, and directed at me, her baby girl. 

You can forgive and not let the past define you.  You can even reason them away.  But somehow the words spoken harshly have left you a changed person inside.

And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. 
James 3:6 NLT

In realizing the power of life and death are in the tongue I was always so careful how I talked to my own children growing up.   I would never call them a name, even when I was very angry at something they did. And I would not allow anyone else to either.  I endeavored to only speak life giving positive words to them.  Even when disciplining them, I would tell them that God had a plan for them and they were disciples, taught of the Lord, and obedient to His will. 

My own mother always told me I was fat, and so to this day I have to over-rule those words and conquer my addiction to food.  Even now that I am maintaining a good weight, I still see myself fat and struggle with that image she created with her words to me.  In other blogs I call those words spoken to us over and over as the “Voice”. 

nail1Words create, life or death, our choice.

Will we answer to God for destroying others with our words?  Yes, we will.  But even when we are forgiven, our words are still there in that person’s head.

It has taken me many years to learn that those words spoken to me were out of someone else’s insecurities and they do not define who I am.  Yet, because of those words, it is a fight and the hurt is there.

Some people are just not strong enough to overcome the death words in their life.

You know why? 

Because our words, without restraint, is the only thing the enemy can use against us.  He uses words to condemn, slice, wound, kill us, steal from us and destroy us.  Our own words are bringing life or death into our lives, our households, our children, and our grandchildren.  It is the only power Satan has in our life. 

And our tongue is the hardest to bring under God’s control. 

Self control is a fruit of His spirit.  Not our spirit.  When we focus on Him and His love in all situations, even our angry tirades, He provides His self control for us to use to conquer the rage. 

But we have to apply it and just do it!   

Learn to call upon Him for help in attaining this fruit of the spirit, self control.  Especially if you have a weakness of out of control anger. 

Let’s make it a practice to speak life into the lives of those Jesus brings to us.

  Let’s CHOOSE life and not death!!

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.  Proverbs 18:21 NLT








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