The Verbs #26 (Put the Fire Out)



“When you run out of wood, the fire goes out; when the gossip ends, the quarrel dies down.”

Proverbs 26:20 MSG 

Many relationships have been destroyed, by one individual feeling they had to get the last word in. The reality of that notion is often it is the last word. That last word is the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. By getting the last word in, you not only end the fight, but you also end the relationship.

One day, Melissa and I were having an intense moment of fellowship. I couldn’t tell you then, and I cannot tell you now, what it was about. That’s the point. We were going along having a wonderful evening, and then a moment broke out. After just a few moments, Melissa just asked the question, “What in the world are even doing?”  “What is this all about?” Neither of us could answer the question. We were just trying to get the last word in; one last dig. When she asked the question, it gave both of us pause. The pause allowed us to pull the wood off the fire. We could have kept going, chucking log after log onto the fire. It would have created an intense inferno, but ultimately it would have burnt down our house, our marriage and our family.

Whether it is in your marital relationship or in another relationship, my question is this, “Is being right, worth the fight?” You can be right, but be completely wrong in how you set out to prove it.  We get so comfortable with the people that we love the most, that we often hurt them the deepest. We just assume that they will always be there, no matter what. By throwing the proverbial log onto the fire, we are showing them that we value the “fight to be right”, more than we value the relationship.

Specifically, in marriage, husbands are to love their wife as Christ loved the church. Remember that Christ loved us and still loves us despite how wrong we were in the past and even in the present. Could it be, that the answer to your relationship is to overlook, move on or simply forgive a mistake? In other words, take the log off the fire. Stop stirring up the coals to reignite something that was over a long time ago.

I would also caution you that if you are in an intense moment of fellowship and a fire starts, keep the old logs out of the new fire. It is unfair to bring an old issue that has been resolved into this fight. Once you start throwing old logs into the fire along with the new ones, you will get a fire that will be hard to contain.

The right thing to do, is to discuss the situation without hurling log and staring fires. Let me leave you with this little verb…

“A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire.”

Proverbs 15:1 MSG

Use your words to put out the fire, not cause one!