Let the Fire Go Out

Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.
— Proverbs 26:20

My wife and I heat our house with wood and we have discovered that our fireplace insert operates scripturally. When we don’t add wood the fire goes out.

How many times have you seen a quarrel get started that could have been short lived if others had not been adding to it. Human nature has one or both parties of the quarrel enlisting others to participate, and some people just volunteer to be party to the quarrel.

You have heard the old adage, “You can win the battle, but lose the war.” Nothing could be more accurate when two sides line up for battle over what started as a trivial, meaningless conflict. Most of the time we end up with nothing resolved, but both groups have hurt feelings, wounded emotions, and bitter attitudes. What once was a good relationship may now be beyond the ability of anyone to mend.

But, there is an answer given to us by Christ Jesus. In His “Sermon on the Mount” Jesus said, “You have heard it said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who despitefully use you that you may reveal you are a child of your Father in Heaven.” Matt. 5:43-45 “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.” Prov. 10:12.

When you have something against someone else or they against you, Jesus said confront one another and settle the matter quickly. When you are wronged, you should ask yourself, “Is this offense one I should let go of?” Sadly what usually happens is, the grudge is held onto and sprinkled with “Miracle-grow” onto roots of bitterness.

Some people will refuse to end the conflict, but to end the conflict you have to refuse to participate in the fueling. Don’t line up people to battle with you. Don’t talk about the issue with others. If you and the other party have resolved the issue, it will soon fade away. Be resolved to let the fire go out.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the restraint to gently and quietly resolve this issue without dragging others into it...