Do you fan the fire of gossip with your tongue or smother the flame?
Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. (Proverbs 26:20 KJV)
A fire it must have all three components of the fire triangle in order for a fire to ignite and burn. This is a proven matter of natural science. Trained firefighters understand a fire triangle consists of three elements which bring about combustion and fire. A fire naturally occurs when heat, fuel, and an oxidizing agent (most often oxygen) combine bringing about instantaneous combustion.
Likewise removing any one of these elements extinguishes a fire. That is the science behind smothering a fire with a blanket, rolling upon the ground, using a fire extinguisher and smothering with chemicals, or using a shovel or rake to stamp out hot embers found in the area surrounding a field or forest fire to retard a natural spread by withholding an agent necessary to continue fueling it. This is why a field or forest fire travels upwards not down ill due to a fire continually seeking out a source of oxygen which resides above a live fire.
Human nature operates in this same fashion. Man naturally has an ignition source in his tongue. When three basic elements combine: a loose tongue, a forward heart, and an opportunity to sow forth discord and contention in a “spiritual triangle” this concoction develops into a roaring spiritual fire fast. Gossip and slander are the spiritual wood fueling and fanning this fire amongst mankind.
The Apostle James describes the tongue this way:
Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. (James 3:5-6 KJV)
In nature sawdust is a minute portion of a greater chunk of wood but can greatly fuel a fire raging out of control destroying a forest or field in minutes. Likewise a tongue is a very small part of the body but can bring about a raging spiritual fire full of pride and contention conveying destruction and death upon mankind. Those who desire to live according to the commandments and precepts God has set forth can employ a banner of Christlikeness to retard spiritual flames or using a biblical fire extinguisher
This extinguisher consists of godly attributes:
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:31-32 KJV)
Do you often fan the flames, adding fuel to fire of contention with your tongue? Or do you seek to smother the fire in an attitude of Christlikeness and humility acting in unity in your spiritual family and to mankind as a whole emitting forth an example to any living in darkness around you?