Thursday, April 29, 2010

Fibs, fires & inflammatory speech

"...The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell." 

James 3: 5 & 6

Or in other, simpler words:

O be careful little mouth what you say
O be careful little mouth what you say
There's a Father up above
And He's looking down in love
So, be careful little mouth what you say!

I waited until this morning to post because I wanted to guard my words and speak carefully.  I knew if I wrote about this last night my own words would be as hurtful and full of hate as the ones that made me so upset in the first place.  So I stayed OFF of the computer completely last night.  I prayed about it.  I thought about it.  I slept on it.  I feel better.  A little bit better.

I can say this without spewing out a lot of venom. 

I think.

Yesterday afternoon, a little after lunch time, the fire pager went off.  The dispatcher announced that a home in our neighborhood was in flames and that someone may be inside. 

Our oldest son was here with the living room...trying to catch a few minutes of peace.  After working past 11:00 pm the night before, fighting a fire for 3 hours that earlier morning, assisting at a medical call and studying for his final exams this week, he was beyond exhausted, so he had come home to grab a bite to eat and be with his mama for a bit.

Upon hearing the tones, he was immediately out of the chair.  He picked up his keys and headed for the door.  When he realized that the house was almost directly behind ours, he moved even faster.  We know the family well.  The elderly gentleman lives alone now.  His wife past away a couple of years ago.   

At first, I wasn't as concerned.  People call the fire department on this fellow every now and then because he has a wood burning stove and sometimes it looks like that house is going up in smoke, but it's not.  When I
looked out the back door, though, there was LOTS of thick, black smoke pouring from the roof.  This wasn't a wood stove.  This was for real.

  I ran to the bedroom to wake up the Hubby.  (He's working nights.)  He was up and out the door in seconds.  The twins and I walked back there, too.  (We stayed well out of the way.)  Thankfully, the man was out of the house, and so were his beloved dogs, but he hadn't been able to find his wife's cat.  He was standing there by himself, watching his home of 40 years go up in flames.  We went over and offered an arm, a shoulder, some water, a phone.

And then we stood there. There really wasn't anything else we could do.  The boys & I watched as their daddy stayed in this man's burning home for over an hour...on a 30 minute tank of air...trying to save the rest of the house.  We listened as ammunition popped and exploded...this man was an avid hunter with an arsenal inside!  We watched as our Oldest and his fellow firemen took turns going in, fighting back the flames, knocking out windows, climbing ladders in the heat and darkness. Did you know that you can't see anything through the black clouds of smoke? 

A gun cabinet fell on my husband yesterday.   

We watched as four departments of trained and dedicated volunteers spent their afternoon and risked their lives to help someone in need. 

We waited on daddy to come back out so we could be sure he was ok! 

I really, really don't like to see the people I love most in the world put themselves in danger. 

After the fire was out, the men went back in to salvage whatever the man asked them to find.  They patiently and carefully picked their way back into the mess for him.  They brought out keepsakes, photos, heirlooms, clothing.  They brought out his late wife's Christmas tree angel. 

They found the cat.  It had died from the smoke in a back bedroom.

When it was all over and we came back home, the twins and I were drained.  Luckily for us, we got to rest.  Unfortunately, our men had to go to work. 

But what does all of this have to do with hurtful words?? 
 Didn't I write a verse up there that had to do with watching what you say?

Well, after we returned to our house, the phone rang.  Someone called to let us know that he had recently told his pastor of his decision to join the fire department.  Upon learning of this, the young man's pastor strongly discouraged him.  He said some very mean, hateful and untrue things about "what goes on up there." 

Things that I won't repeat, but let me just say...the lies that this pastor told just blew me away!

That a pastor...a man who sets himself in a position of leadership and example...would say such awful things...things that aren't even true...I just can't understand it. 

When my son called home on his break last night I asked if he had ever heard these accusations aimed at the fire department before. 

He said yes. 

His own SUNDAY SCHOOL teacher had confronted him with this same garbage. She told him that she was appalled that he would ever go there and that it was no place for Christians!  I was shocked.  I have never heard an unkind word come from her mouth before.  She has never set foot in that building except to stuff her mouth at the annual Thanksgiving dinner.  How in the world would she know...or think she knows...what goes on in that station?  She is supposed to be guiding young adults on their behavior.  Instead, she spreads vicious rumors? 

I have known some of those firefighters for 25 years.  Others since they were small children.  The lies that are being told are exactly that.  Lies. 

I understand that people thrive on gossip. I know that it's human nature to grab onto a juicy new rumor and tell it to every soul you know.  I can comprehend how even a fine Christian person can get all caught up in thinking that they're saving someone from hell by warning them about the sin they heard about. 

But shouldn't we be setting a better example than that?

Shouldn't we be living what we preach? 

Shouldn't we be more careful about igniting fires with our words and then fanning the flames?

ESPECIALLY if we find ourselves in trusted positions of authority??

Shouldn't we reach out in love and draw people toward Jesus instead of blindly acting just like the rest of the world and shoving them away? 

Be careful what you say, because once you've said something, you can't take the words back. 

Or in other, simpler words:  WATCH YOUR MOUTH! 

And be thankful that those you're lying about would still reach in a pull you from the flames. 


Hezra said...

oh my gosh! Are your hubby and son okay today?? I am so sorry-- that must have been torturous to watch. I am praying for you all. AND the poor guy who lost his home and memories. So sad. It is heartbreak. True ministry to support those in that situation. I am so sorry there are "talebearers" and that they are supposed to be the most trustworthy. I am sorry they are being sinfully human and that you have been in the middle of it. I know what that feels like. Desperately.Devastating.

a Tonggu Momma said...

That is very disappointing - that people who are meant to be examples to us all end up telling untruths to puff themselves up. Glad everyone is safe after fighting that fire.