Have you ever gotten angry and lost your temper? Yeah, it has happened to me, too.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!─ Gal. 5:22-23
There was a man who had a son that had some serious anger issues. The young man was known to lose his temper and become angry several times per day. One day he approached his father and asked for help in learning to control his anger.
The man took his son outside and handed him a box of nails and a hammer. He told his son that whenever he lost his temper and became angry, that he is to drive a nail into the wooden fence post for each one.
The son thought this was a crazy idea, but he trusted his father enough to give it a try. So, whenever the son became angry, he would drive a nail into the fence. In the beginning, the son drove 20 to 30 nails per day into that fence. Driving all those nails took considerable time and effort, so over the next few weeks, the son decided to learn to control his anger and the number of nails driven per day began to decrease.
One day the son realized he hadn’t been allowing things to make him angry and had gone a few days without driving any nails into the fence. When he shared this news with his father, the man again took his son out to the fence where all those nails had been driven. He told his son that for every day he can go without getting angry, he is to pull out one nail. The son told his father that there are an awful lot of nails to pull and that it will take a very long time. The man insisted it is necessary so the son agreed.
Every day that the son controlled his anger, he pulled out one nail from the fence. After several months, the son returned to his father and told him that every last nail had been pulled from the fence. Again, the man took his son out to the fence. As they looked at the fence together, the man said to his son,
“I am proud of you, son. You have learned that you have control over your anger and you don’t have to let things get to you. But now, look at my fence. It is ruined. It is still full of holes where those nails had been. The fence will never be the same.
You see, son, when we allow our anger to get the best of us, and we lose our temper and lash out, someone always gets hurt by our actions. That’s when we drive the nails. Later, when we apologize or make amends, we pull out that hurtful nail.
But look at the fence, son. Even though the nails are now gone, and you’ve apologized for the hurt, the damage that has been done is still there and will always be there. People may forgive you, but they will never forget.
Don’t you think it is better to not even drive that first nail?”
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. ─ Gal. 5:24-25
The Bible tells us that God gets angry, and that Jesus was angry in the temple when he drove out the dishonest merchants. He was also angry when He told off the Pharisees. We also know that Jesus never sinned. The Bible tells us to not sin in our anger. Anger is not a sin. What we choose to do with it determines if it is a sin or not.
God gets mad. He got so mad that one time He sent a flood to wipe out everyone but Noah and his family.
God is also mad about you.
He is so mad about you that He sent His only Son to die in your place so you could spend eternity in paradise with Him.
Remember, one of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control. So go ahead and get mad, just be careful what you choose to do with it. I could very well be that man’s son in the story. I’ve ruined my share of fences. But I’ve learned that I have a choice as to how I react to things that would normally make me angry.
God has used some amazing people in my life to help me learn to control my anger and take each thought captive and give it all up to Christ.
It isn’t easy and some days it is a real struggle.
Two weeks ago today, my oldest child, my son, turned 19 years old.
He has had a pretty rough last couple of years and a lot of that is my fault.
I trusted that his mother would treat her children (our children) with the love and respect you would assume from a mother who cares about her children. For the last few years, my son has been hearing how much his mother hates his father (me). Then he hears angry words like, “You’re just like your father!” (Personally, I don’t think that is such a bad thing).
My son is rather intelligent and has no problem putting two and two together. So what do you think he’s hearing her really tell him? Needless to say, they don’t get along very well.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve received phone calls from him asking if he could come here to live with me. One time I could hear his mother screaming obscenities at him in the background, telling him to hurry up and get out. Each time, once she realized she would no longer get support payments for him, she’d talk him out of it or find other ways to force him to stay. Often holding his car or bank account for ransom until she got her way. After he graduated from High School and the courts emancipated him, she tossed him out. She made him sleep in the RV on the other side of the garage and would rarely allow him in the house.
They get under each other’s skin quite easily and quite often. This last time, his mother pulled the plug on the RV and shut off the water.
A few weeks ago, my son called me and asked if the spare room in my house is still available.
Of course it is, it always has been. It just needed to be his choice.
Right now, my son is on a plane heading for here. I will pick him up at the airport later tonight.
He is coming here by choice. His entire family out west has turned against him. He asked to come. He doesn’t smoke or drink or do drugs. He’s a good kid. He is a fine young man.
We’ve got some catching up to do, and there is a fence to be mended.
Even though he’s never been here before, I sincerely believe with my whole heart, that my son is coming home.
God is good. Christ is King. And my son is coming home.