Abigail Van Buren, best known for her famous “Dear Abby” column, was once the queen of witty advice. On one particular occasion she said something especially thought provoking: “People who fight fire with fire usually end up with ashes.”
While it is true firefighters have often used fire to help limit the damage of a forest fire, the end result is always the same, more ashes. Outside the forest, too many in our world choose to fight fire with fire. In other words, they respond to hotheaded people and fiery situations by doing the exact same thing. Rumors are spread about the person who gossips about them. Lies are told about the person doing the lying. They slander, insult, and seek revenge against those who do the same to them. They are fighting fire with fire. The problem is, this just ends up causing more disaster, more problems, and more ashes.
A nice cold bucket of love, forgiveness, and kindness would do wonders for hot situations like these. After addressing several different types of relationships, Peter said it best, “To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:8-9).
Returning evil for evil will always add to the overall damage. Using God’s problem solving techniques is always better than our own. Let’s put out the fires and resolve to be a part of the solution.