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Fight Fire With Fire

Updated on January 24, 2011

The Two Fiery Situations In September

In the month of September 2010, we have had two terrible situations that have revolved around the threat and tragedy of fire: The threat to burn the Muslim holy book and the tragedy of the gas pipeline explosion. In both instances, people have come out of the situation with hurt and retaliation while some have lost their homes and lives in the destruction.

In a matter of days, a controversial preacher, Terry Jones, planned to set ablaze thousands of Muslim holy books with the express conviction that the Quran was evil because it espouses something other than biblical truth—it fuels radical violent behavior among Muslims. He unofficially dubbed 9/11 as the “International Burn The Koran Day.”

The Afgan reaction toward Jones’ plan was telling. It actually sparked protests in that part of the world. Several hundred demonstrators ran toward a NATO compound where four attackers and five police were injured in clashes. Afgans pelted rocks at a signboard and a passing US military convoy. They burned tires, blocked highways, and even went to the extent of burning the Stars and Stripes shouting, “Death to America!”

The story has a David versus Goliath quality about it. An unknown pastor shepherding a small church of 50 members in Florida calls out a challenge to the daunting Muslim world. Surprisingly, his message ignited the attention of the worldwide media along with the top US General in Afghanistan and the most powerful Office in the Free World. Both leaders countered and/or condemned the Quran-burning event warning that the repercussions would put American soldiers and civilians living in Muslim countries in harm’s way.

There is a kernel of truth in regard to Jones’ reason for burning the Quran. Violent behavior from Muslim extremist groups erupted even before the event took place. Interesting that the Muslims behind the protests didn’t burn a Holy Bible, but rather burned the American flag—the western infidel’s symbol of freedom and democracy. True to form, Terry’s threat more than teased them, but brought out an isolated ugly truth behind their belief system.

Of course, this does not excuse the Florida pastor from his detrimental and dangerous actions. The Dove World Outreach Center embodies a great contradiction in regard to its name. Ironically, their species of dove has lost its innocence.[i] This bird is a biblical symbol of peace through the Holy Spirit. The church’s irreverent exploit destroys its central vision of “world outreach.”

Like Islam, Christianity has its share of rogue leaders and fanatical followers that bring shame to the gospel message of Jesus Christ and his kingdom. Rather than being led by the Holy Spirit, they are swayed by the human flesh. The destruction of the Twin Towers and the loss of lives on 9/11 was a tragedy of epic proportions. It made monsters of Muslims as it roused up the American sleeping giant to retaliate with a crushing blow in Baghdad—“Shock and Awe!”

Yet we know from the Scriptures to leave room for the wrath of God, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”[ii] Christians are not to fight fire with fire. Rather, we are to love our enemies by feeding their hunger and quenching their thirst for by this we will heap burning coals upon our enemy’s head.[iii] If we must burn something, let us not burn Qurans, but burn coals upon the heads of those who hate us. It was the 19th century German philosopher Nietzsche that once cautioned, “Do not slay the dragon, lest you become the dragon.”

The Greek word anthrax means “burning coals.” This word appears only once in the New Testament. It is from this word that we get our English word “anthrax.” Anthrax, which signifies a fiery boil, is a highly infectious fatal bacterial disease of mammals—especially cattle and sheep—that causes skin ulcers and is transmittable to humans by inhalation and through feces and infected meat.

The Greek word soreuo appears only twice in the New Testament. The other reference is found in 2 Timothy 3:6. It signifies a heaping up into a pile as in “to overwhelm with a heaping together of anything.”[iv]

It is clear that the “burning coals” that are to be heaped on the head is not a literal but a figurative reaction against revenge. Figuratively speaking, heaping burning coals upon the head of an enemy is meant to melt and/or soften the heart causing it to glow with love. This also includes the burning pangs meant to shame one’s enemy whose evil is answered by good. Vengeance may break the spirit of the enemy, but love will break his heart and “move him to burning shame”.[v]

There’s the story of a woman involved in bitter quarrels with her husband. Seeking counsel, she was asked, “Have you tried heaping burning coals of fire on his head?” She replied, “No, but I tried a skillet of hot grease!” This woman, like Pastor Jones and others, failed to realize that Paul used a figure of speech, a style of rhetoric often found in the Scriptures. A Bible commentator noted, “The original meaning of this figure of speech has been lost, but Paul suggests that the enemy will burn with shame for his abuse of one who loves him”.[vi]

What will forge the Christian challenge in response to the 9/11 anniversary of the U.S. terrorist attacks? Especially when the aftermath of the attack leads to the building of a mosque neighboring Ground Zero. We must fight the fire of fanatics with the fire of the Holy Spirit. What form will our “burning coals” take? How can we creatively heap burning coals upon those that loathe us—coals that will quench the fire line of hatred and drench it with divine love from above? Are we willing to fight the fire of seething human hate with the fire of supernatural divine love?


[i] Matthew 10:16.

[ii] Romans 12:19.

[iii] Romans 12:20.

[iv] Thayer, 612.

[v] Barclay, 184.

[vi] Coffman, 442-43.


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    • Gicky Soriano profile imageAUTHOR

      Gicky Soriano 

      7 years ago from California


      I just read your engaging article and left you a comment. Thanks for interacting with this hub and leaving me a encouraging note. All blessings.

    • CreatePerfection profile image


      7 years ago from Beautiful Colorado

      Gicky, I am so impressed by this article. I just wrote one myself called "Fighting Fire With Fire Makes A Bigger Fire!" Here is the link if you are interested: It was my article that brought my attention to yours and I am very grateful to meet you.

      Thank you so much for this very important piece that you have written.

      Blessings to you.


    • Gicky Soriano profile imageAUTHOR

      Gicky Soriano 

      7 years ago from California

      Tony L Smith, May the Holy Spirit grant us the wisdom to address the heated tension that sears and divides Muslims and Christians alike. I appreciate your comment. Blessings to you.

    • Tony L Smith profile image

      Tony L Smith 

      7 years ago from Macon

      Good word, sometimes its hard to divide between standing for truth as you understand it and or standing in the spirit (holy fire). Both ways you pay a price sometimes, but only one has lasting fruit.

      The goodness of God leadeth to repentance works on Muslins as well as Americans

    • heart4theword profile image


      7 years ago from hub

      Good to see you again Gicky:) The power of the Holy Spirit, I thank God for this! Without the Holy Spirit, there is so much that would not be quickened, in our hearts:)

    • Ms Dee profile image

      Deidre Shelden 

      8 years ago from Texas, USA

      WOW! Beautiful, awesome :) An excellent explanation/ teaching of what God tells us to do in the face of the evil hate we see against us. Thank you, brother! Bookmarking.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      8 years ago

      Gicky Soriano, Thought provoking "Message! In every situation we are to first seek the Lord and respond accordingly... God's WAY is always best. When we react in the flesh condemnation awaits... This waters down the effectiveness of our testimony! The Scriptures are clear here. We are to be led by the Spirit of the Lord! "To overcome evil with GOOD!"

      "Yet we know from the Scriptures to leave room for the wrath of God, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”[ii] Christians are not to Like Islam, Christianity has its share of rogue leaders and fanatical followers that bring shame to the gospel message of Jesus Christ and his kingdom. Rather than being led by the Holy Spirit, they are swayed by the human flesh.fight fire with fire." Amen & Amen!

      "Like Islam, Christianity has its share of rogue leaders and fanatical followers that bring shame to the gospel message of Jesus Christ and his kingdom. Rather than being led by the Holy Spirit, they are swayed by the human flesh." Amen! Here again we are to exercise self-control! You have certainly given us much to ponder... As you say "we are not to fight fire with fire!" "Vengeance is mine." says the LORD!

      Thank you for sharing, In HIS Love, Grace, Joy, Peace & Blessings!

    • Abrushing1968 profile image

      Aaron Rushing 

      8 years ago from USA- Florida


      A hearty amen to you brother. The prophet Elisha, upon blinding the Syrian army in 2 Kings 6. Led them away and fed them. He loved on them and showed them respect and hospitality before sending them back to the Syrian King. How cool is that? The scripture says that because of this "the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel."

      That said, It is important to note there does come a time to take up arms against our enemy. The Muslim faith is a violent and aggressive faith/nation. We must not turn a passive back to the threat they represent. I say love the individual. Take him and her and show them the love of Christ. But to the nation/religious system as a whole, we must show a united front that will, if need be, destroy every mother's son of them if they provoke us. To maintain order, they need a healthy dose of fear and trembling.

      I acknowledge that it is a fine line to walk. I am not always sure where the individual ends and the Nation begins. As a nation, Islam will not allow itself to respond to burning coals, They will absorb our kindness and see it as an opportunity to advance. Their stated goal is to take over the world. and currently they are accomplishing this goal. Their only real opposition is Christianity. Christianity on the other hand, is not militant nor does it require everyone to believe as she does. Christians love to share the gospel but, we don't put people in prison for rejecting our faith. You do not have to be a Christian to participate in our society.

      The individual Muslim on the other hand, is starving for affection and truth. He respects true conviction. Like all humans, he needs Jesus on the personal level. I do not believe there is such a thing as a Christian Nation. Only nations with Christian people.

      Christ Saves people. He died for the individual. It is to the individual that we must apply these scripture.

      As a Nation, the Muslim faith is non redeemable. It is a lie and a road that leads to death. It is dangerous and aggressive. Indeed, it is a deadly Dragon devouring people and nations. Spewing flames of death as it goes. Pardon me for disagreeing with the 19th century German philosopher Nietzsche, But in this case, the only good Dragon, is a dead Dragon. This is a strong statement I know, but again, I distinguish between the individual and the nation.

      I love your stuff Gicky. As always, very insightful, extremely well written, and full of conviction. Thank you for speaking out against hate and revenge. For reminding us that there is a God in heaven and it is He that will avenge if vengeance is needed. For reminding us to seek the paths of love that will, when done in sincerity, soften the heart of those who hate us.

      Praise God \o/

      In Christ



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