Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Burning anger

You may have heard the story about a forest service worker that started the worst forest fire in Colorado state history.  Her Name was Terry Lynn Barton.  She had received a letter from her estranged husband regarding their divorce.  She was very upset at the contents of the letter and decided (according to her own admission) that she was going to burn it.  She started the fire in an area that was under a fire ban due to drought conditions.  Ironically it was her job to enforce the ban.  The fire ended up spreading to burn 138,114 acres and destroying 133 homes.  There is some question as to her story's truthfulness as the prosecutors believe that Ms Barton set the fires deliberately. 

Whether accidentally or deliberately I believe this is a good analogy for how anger works if it is unchecked.  It was a small burning anger that she held in her hands.  It certainly did not seem small to her at the time I am sure, but relative to the grand scheme of things it was in fact small.   That small burning in her life led to a huge burden to the community around her as over 5000 people were displaced and hundreds of firefighters fought a blaze that would end up costing over 38 million dollars in damage.  That is the nature of fire.  It also is the nature of anger. 

Are you angry?  Do something about it before it causes more damage to those around you than you can imagine.  Unresolved, unchecked anger is as destructive as a fire which is why the Bible so frequently uses fire to describe anger.