Don’t Fight Fire With Fire


 Scripture: Ecclesiastes 10:

4 If a ruler’s anger rises against you,
       do not leave your post;
       calmness can lay great offenses to rest.

Observation:  People feed off each others emotions, if you return anger for anger, you get more of the same.

Application:  I am not one who gets angry easy, but one thing that I know is a weakness for me is when someone else is upset with me and I can’t seem to do anything to fix it.  When I know someone is angry, it makes me angry.  But what does this kind of reaction do? It only makes for a more fervent anger between the two of us.

I know the old saying goes, you fight fire with fire.  I think it originates in the concept that if you start a small controlled fire in the path of a spreading fire, you can consume all the burnable fuel that the spreading fire would need before it reaches the areas beyond the control fire.  I’m not sure about how effective this is in fire fighting, but in our culture this concept and the saying has spread over into the area of human relationships and I don’t think it works so well there.

We feed off of each others emotions and responses.  If you get upset with a person and come at them in a very aggressive way, if your words are loud and your body language combative you will find yourself in a situation that has gone from bad to worse.  Too much of this kind of communication creates a fight or flight response, and either response is counterproductive to resolving problems.

If you ridicule, accuse, or criticize another person, you can expect them to defend themselves, and whatever point you are trying to get across to them is lost because they are only going to focus on why you are wrong.

We may not be able to control any one else’s actions, but we are in control of our own reactions.  And Solomon was very wise when he wrote “calmness can lay great offenses to rest.” Rather than jumping back in the ring with the boxing kangaroos that we encounter, perhaps a little calmness, a little bit of silence and inner peace may be the right way to go.

Jesus told us that He was giving us HIS Peace, (John 14:27) not the worldly kind of peace, but a peace that goes beyond the circumstances of this life, and the daily struggles that we face, HIS peace.  And if we have His peace within, we should be able to show it to the world that doesn’t have it, and maybe it will rub off on them a little, and perhaps we will be known by our love for one another as we should be.

Prayer:  God of Peace,

Help me to keep your spirit in my heart and shining out to the world when I encounter people who are angry or hurt.  Help the peace within me to reach out to others and make a difference in the interactions I face. 

Love Michael

Yield: I surrender my anger, and cling to the peace that Jesus offers us.

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2 comments on “Don’t Fight Fire With Fire

  1. dogearedpreacher says:

    Nicely done. The key for me is to recognize that the anger cycle is rising (easier said than done in the heat of the moment), and then to break the cycle by stepping back and reducing my own level. That can pop the bubble of defensiveness.

    If that doesn’t work, then I try throwing things. 🙂

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