Relational Arsonists

“Relational arsonists” are people who start drama in the church, their friendships, their family, at work, and in the community.

This week, I came across an article about a volunteer fireman in Australia who had been convicted for starting fires. I was intrigued, so I did a little digging. I found a report released in 2003 by the United States Fire Administration about firemen who start fires. The report said that “firefighter arson” is a rare but serious problem.

But why would a fireman start a fire to being with? The report said:

“Their main reason for lighting the fire is so they can appear as a hero, either by being the first to spot the flames, or by rescuing people and saving property.”

Goodness! Can you imagine? Starting a tragedy so that you can be the hero to solve the tragedy you created?

The Bible talks about people who are “relational arsonists.” These are people who start drama in the church, their friendships, their family, at work, and in the community.

“As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife.” (Proverbs 26:21)

I know some followers of Jesus who are “relational arsonists.” That’s who “contentious” people are. Like the firefighters who start fires, they create some form of drama so that they can be the “hero.” They manufacture a problem, watch it spark up drama around them, and then present themselves as the “hero” to solve the problem.

That’s not how followers of Jesus should be. Rather than blowing up relationships in order to feed some “ego need,” our goal is to build others up.

“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:29-32)

Instead of igniting fires of drama in our relationships, Jesus calls us to be a source of blessing to those around us.

Reject worthless words.

We must stop wounding our relationships with worthless words. This includes hurtful words, deceitful words, and malicious gossip. It can include sarcasm and attributing evil intention to those who do good.

Infuse grace to others.

We must build up others through our words so that people around us are swirling in Christ’s grace rather than salacious sewage of worthless words. Communication that is good is communication that gives grace to those who hear. We use words to empower people to pursue what God wants, to live in His power.

Immerse others in kindness.

Kindness is the grace God gives us to be helpful to another, to bless another, and to demonstrate love to another.

Nourish others with compassion.

The Spirit ignites compassion in our hearts for others. As followers of Christ, we deal with one another from a heart of love that feels deeply and personally what the other is going through.

Fuel your relationships with forgiveness.

When faced with hurtful words and hateful actions, we must respond to others the way God has responded to us. We must forgive.

Pray today for God to Show us how to love our neighbor well, not burn their house down with our deceitful drama.

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