There was a young boy who struggled with profanity. His father took him to a field across the street from their home, where there stood an old fence. He gave his son a box of nails and a hammer. “Every time you say a bad word, hammer a new nail into the fence,” he said.
Each day, the boy would go to the fence and hammer in his nails. Eventually, he began to turn things around, cussing less each day. One day, he went to his dad, full of joy. “Dad, I’ve quit cussing! I’m no longer having to hammer nails into the fence!”
With that, his dad took the boy to the fence, with a new set of instructions. “Each day you don’t cuss, remove one nail from the fence.”
Months later, the boy proudly removed his last nail and brought that nail to his dad, along with the good news. Silently, his dad led him across the street to the fence. “I’m so glad there are no more nails,” said the father. “But notice, the holes from those nails are still there.”
His lesson was that the angry words of his son still had lasting effects, long after he turned things around. For our purposes, let’s substitute sexually acting out for the profanity in this story.
Here’s the lesson. Years after you quit acting out, the pain you inflicted on those closest to you has left scars that live on for years.
Recovery Step: Actions have consequences. “Whatever you sow, that you will also reap” (Galatians 6:7). It’s good to remove the nails. But it’s better to have never hammered them into your fence in the first place.