Friday, October 9, 2009


A little boy was in the habit of using abusive words. His mother wanted to change his habit. She brought a hammer and a box of nails to the boy’s room and told him that she would hammer a nail to the door of his room every time he used an abusive word. The nailing continued everyday. Seeing the growing ugly sign on the freshly painted door, he gradually began to behave in a better manner. Later he stopped his bad habit altogether and proudly reported his decision to the mother. To encourage him, she told him, “Now, at the end of every day you complete without uttering even a single bad word, we will pull out one nail from the door.”

Gradually, all the nails were pulled out and the boy was delighted to display the door to his mother. Then the mother showed him the holes left in the door. She said, “Words are sharper than swords. Whenever you say an abusive word to another person, it leaves a scar in his mind and another one in your own mind like the nail-marks left in your door. It is better to avoid using bad words than repenting after repeating them.”

He understood her advice and followed it faithfully.

St. Paul advises, “Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you” {Ephesians 4:29}. “No insults or obscene talk must ever come from your lips” {Colossians 3:8}.

St. James advises, “Every one must be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry” {James 1: 19}. “Just think how large a forest can be set on fire by a tiny flame! And the tongue is like a fire” {James 3: 5, 6}.

“May my words and my thoughts be acceptable to you, O Lord, my refuge and my redeemer! {Psalms 19: 14}.


© By: Dr. Babu Philip, Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India.

This is Story No. 166 in this site. Please click ‘Older Posts’ at the bottom of a page to read previous stories and click 'Newer Posts' at the bottom of a page to read newer stories in this site. Please click on a word in the 'Story Themes' to read stories on that theme.

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