One day my son’s pocket caught on fire!  Scary!!!

Do you have family or friends that you have to ‘deal with’?  

So, what could these possibly have in common?

I have a little analogy that I think you’ll enjoy that express exactly what I mean.  If you have a minute, I’ll tell you the story of the fuming pocket… and how a family can be a flame waiting to happen.




Are YOU Going To Start The Fire?

Years ago one of my sons loved to play with matches. It didn’t seem to matter how many times he was warned, he continued to ignore us. He would sneak them whenever he could and start little fires, or just hide them all around the house.

At that time, matches were made to ‘strike anywhere’ meaning they could start a flame, even with the flick of a fingernail.  You were able to strike the tip of the match on pretty much anything and it would ignite the flame immediately.

One day my son, the one who pilfered matches at every given opportunity, was running through the house and suddenly smoke started coming from his pants! I was shocked! His older brother threw himself on top of his sibling, they rolled across the room, as he patted and swatted at the smoke coming from his brothers’ pants!

As the situation calmed down, and pants were stripped quickly to make sure there were no burns, I said a quick pray of gratitude that no damage was done to my son; and we began to sort out what had just happened. 

My son had swiped forbidden matches once again and stowed them away in his pocket. While running, the friction caused the match heads to strike against one another, igniting them, which caused the flame to burst right in his pants!  

Since all is well, that ends well – it is a funny story.

I was reading my scriptures and in James 3:5 (King James version) it reads: Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!

Boy, isn’t that the truth!!!


What we say, in essence, can start a forest fire of hurt and anger with the quick stroke of a word, which then quickly spreads far and wide from relative to relative. Regrettably, the damage done, can often last for a awhile, a lifetime, even to generations.  

Regrowth, also known as forgiveness, most certainly can come as attitudes are mended, just as the forest flourishes, to make it as though it never happened.  However, this is extremely difficult, and too often a rare circumstance.  Particularly if the damage has been deep, as we are dealing with human beings and their individual outlook on the situation (which probably has been taken out of proportion), not nature which naturally regenerates the beauty God intends. 

How much better it would be, if it never had occurred in the first place!  If words had been softened, an approach tempered, the tongue bridled and held. The irreparable consequences that could destroy, would be as a whisper in the wind that blew by and never was to be. 

As families, because we are human beings dealing with each other, situations WILL arise that need to be dealt with.  There is no doubt that it will happen at least once…a month (we are people); and possibly even with the same person over and over.

When we are angry, even rightly so, I truly desire that we can think about how we are going to craft our words – take a long breath – do all withing out power to avoid spreading a fire storm of fury that will only relieve our temper momentarily, not resolve any issue, or look to the other person’s point of view.

If a problem or issue needs to be dealt with, it’s always best to have a prayer in our heart to see the full scope AND PERSON through God’s eyes before speaking. Then go forward with a prayer in our heart that they will understand that we only want the best for all involved.  

Let them know they are loved.  However, that it (whatever the dispute/concern) cannot continue.  You are doing all you can to find resolution with peace and love, as that is the ultimate goal, if it can be achieved.

Oftentimes it is simply a matter of miscommunication, or even to find the same solution, just approaching it at a different angles; again because we are simply human beings all learning together.  

Neighborhoods would be so much happier and peaceful. Our family would know joy beyond the power of the pen. If we would only choose to put out the spark of wrath the moment it arises, refusing to allow it to ignite into a flame.

When we desire love and charity as our choice whenever possible, the fires of hate are trampled out and society as a whole flourishes. When all are allowed the freedom to expand their abilities and not be held down by their own hatred, or by that from someone else, there are no scars or long-lasting effects from the firestorm of resentment, yet instead the love of understanding and compassion.  

We deserve the love that flows naturally with this attitude and choices, as do our family and posterity to come. 

Inspired by 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 King James Version

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2016

Image courtesy of Pixomar at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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