The Power of Words to Wound and to Heal

Jeff Herring

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There was a little boy with a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, to hammer a nail in the back fence.

The first day, the boy drove 37 nails into the fence. Then it gradually dwindled.

He discovered it was easier to hold his temper 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, 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, and I am proud of you. Now look at the holes in the fence. It 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. "

Yet, we so easily verbally wound those around us.

The tongue is such a small part of the body and yet so incredibly powerful for both good and bad.

A verbal wound can hurt as much as a physical wound. This is because the wrong words at the wrong time can ruin everything.

At the same time, the right words at the right time can change everything.

My challenge is to consider the impact of our words in the coming days. Things to consider include:

  • Does this need to be said?

  • If it does need to be said, how can I say it well without harm?

  • How would I feel if someone said to me what I am about to say or just said?

  • Are there words I have inflicted upon someone that I need to clean up? Even if the scars won't disappear, the right words now may heal the wound.

    It's been said that if you who can conquer your tongue, you can conquer just about anything.

    Visit for tips and tools for creating and growing a great relationship. You can also subscribe to our f*r*e*e 10 day e-program on how to enrich your relationship today, from relationship coach and expert Jeff Herring.

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