Flames of good and evil

Published 7:00 am Thursday, March 13, 2014

Since the first time ancient man struck flint against rock to create a spark, fire has been used as a tool of both good and evil.

The Bible mentions fire in both capacities. The Holy Spirit has been described as a cleansing fire. Fire has also been described Biblically as a destructive force.

In this light, man has used fire as both a healing and destructive force.

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Fires have been used in prescribed burns to clear out unwanted overgrowth or blighted properties. Fire has been used to warm our homes and to provide entertainment outdoors and light our way in dark places. In educated hands fire can even be used to put out other fires.

But when fire is in the wrong hands it can be very deadly. Fire has been used to kill, destroy evidence, as a tool for revenge, and to inflict pain. Sometimes, however, fire is used to destroy randomly as in the crime of arson.

Arson is one crime that is hard to understand. What possible reason could someone have for setting fire to something just to watch it burn? Especially trash cans on a gazebo at a children’s playground, or a dumpster beside a local business, or an unoccupied apartment?

Whatever thrill the arsonist enjoys from their actions surely fades once the flames go out. What doesn’t go away is the heartache and financial hardship caused by the fire.

Fire can be a wonderful thing! It can be used as a tool of creation. It can shape metal into beautiful works of art, melt glass into drinking vessels and home decorations, and used in many processes we take for granted each day.

In the hands of an arsonist fire is nothing more than a weapon of destruction and power. Whether our recent fires are the work of a true arsonist, juveniles being “juvenile”, or simply someone with nothing better to do than destroy things, one thing is certain. It will take much longer to repair the damage than it took the fire to destroy it.

What a shame. To the person responsible, next time you feel the urge to burn, leave the fire in the fireplace.


About Barbara Mizell

Barbara Mizell began working for the Picayune Item in 1993. She started during the "cut and paste" days of the newspaper, and was the first to create a newspaper page using the computer for the Item. She has served as Composing Supervisor and honorary Religion Editor. Of all the contributions she has made over her 20 years at the Item, she is most proud of the World War II book "The Greatest Generation." Barbara was born and raised in the White Sand Community on Lee Hill, she has also written many short stories about growing up on the hill.

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