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Put Away the Gasoline

What you say can preserve life or destroy it; so you must accept the consequences of your words.  Proverbs 18:21 GNT

Photo courtesy of pixabay.I set fire to someone today.

Actually, I dreamed I set fire to someone. I saw the shoulders of two men who were showering in side-by-side shower stalls. The first man’s skin bore burn scars from fire. That man spit a flammable liquid from his mouth toward the second man, hitting the second man on his bare flesh. Then the first man threw a lighter toward him. I watched as his skin flamed, as he writhed in agony, and as he uttered an anguished cry.

I asked God what it meant. He said it showed the effect of our hateful words. We cannot fight fire with fire. One man acted from his fleshly nature rather than responding by the Spirit. God reminded me that wounded people wound others. Speaking hateful words is like spewing fire on another person. They burn from the caustic nature of our verbal cursing.

Reading the proverb, I considered the power of words and this dream in light of modern culture which has become a hotbed of clashing ideologies. We see light and darkness collide on the streets and transmit into our homes and telephones. It can be overwhelming.

When you see news of people who hold opposing views protesting publicly for a social cause, don’t slander them in the privacy of your home with your words or thoughts. As Christians, we know not to curse others, but it’s easy to get disgusted and think thoughts or say words we’re not proud of.

In this season when God is separating truth from lies, we must choose sides. God brings order from chaos, but we must not fight God when we enter into chaos. Rather, we should bless and not curse. God wants us to visualize others as His precious yet wounded children bearing visible scars. Then to respond not only with sympathy but also with empathetic compassion.

The lens of our eye must be clean so we can view others in the light of God’s love. Our hearts must be purified so we do not transfer our offense to them. Only with clean hands, pure hearts, calm voices, and buried flesh will our words carry weight.

Offer bandages, not gasoline, to others and overcome evil with good. 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

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Kathryne Leach

Kathryne Leach is the debut author of Lion in my Garden: Devotional Activity Journal released in 2018. She lives in FL and NC with her husband and two lazy, adorable cats. Kate began a second career in writing upon early retirement. She loves expresso, time outdoors, gardening, books, and God (not in that order). Find out more at www.kathryneleach.com.   


  1. Kathryne - such a timely devotional for me. It confirms a Word the Lord gave me just two days ago regarding a relative with very differnt views. The Lord reminded me that she is hurting and I need to be praying for her and not get frustrated with the words spewing from her mouth. Encouraged.

  2. Good word, Kate. Our words have the power of life and death. Choose life!

  3. WOW! Great Word! Thank you for sharing!