“STOP SHOUTING!” Ironically, when my eldest boy, John, was trying to get his younger brother, Michael, to stop shouting, he ended up shouting at him. Most of us could probably identify with this. We sheepishly nod in guilt as we too have done this before.
We try to get others to stop hitting us by hitting back. We try to get others to listen to us by talking over them and in that process, end up not listening to them. We react to criticism by criticizing back, hoping that if we heap enough negative on others, we wouldn’t be on the receiving end of any negativity. The list goes on.
We fight fire with fire. The result - all the parties involved end up getting burnt.
A dangerous thought
When there’s a fire and we want to put out the fire, we have never seen a firemen fighting fire with fire. Depending on what caused the fire, water, foam or sand might be used to combat it.
While there are many options to combat fire, fire is not one of the solution used by firefighters. It never was, never is, and never will be the solution to help us put out a fire. Not only is it not a good solution, it is not a solution at all.
However, settlers have been recorded to have tried to fought fire with fire. In order to protect pieces of lands from larger fires, they set up ‘small controllable fires’ to destroy flammable items in advance, so as to deprive the land of fuel in the future.
Though there are successful cases, nonetheless, combating fire with fire is nowhere near ideal as it often just grows the fire. We know not to add fuel to fire, but somehow think that fighting fire with fire is the way to go, which is a dangerous thought to have.
If neither preempting with fire nor responding to fire with fire works, what then could be our approach to a fire. No matter how careful we are and how much we try to avoid it, we are bond to face some fires in our lives.
While some fires may have been started by us, others might have been thrown at us by people around us, whether accidentally or intentionally. As such, we need to not only learn how to be careful not to start unnecessary fires but to also equip ourselves with resources to put out fires that come our way.
Romans chapter 12, verses 17 - 21 reminds us, “Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”
Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.”
We need to make the right choices. To choose good. To choose God.
Not depended on us
Another version of the aforementioned scriptures says – “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord... Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
There might be fires that are not depended on us, thus it will continue to rage. The difference is, with us choosing good instead of repaying the nasty, we will overcome evil with good. It doesn’t promise us that the fire will die down or even that we will escape the fire but what it does promise us is God’s involvement.
If God is for us, who can be against us since His plans are to prosper us and not to harm us. Don’t fight fire with fire; fight fire with God.
Esther Koh is a primary school teacher living in Wellington with her husband and two sons. She loves people and has a passion for helping others find their purpose for living.
Esther Koh’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/esther-koh.html