Dealing With Volatile Situations

by | May 20, 2008 | Anger, Peace, Wisdom

As I’m sure you are aware, every year the Darwin Awards are given to those people who do the stupidest things (and don’t live to tell about it). This award was given a few years ago (in 1999):

In a west Texas town, employees in a medium-sized warehouse noticed the smell of gas. Sensibly, management evacuated the building, extinguishing all potential sources of ignition — lights, power, etc.

After the building had been evacuated, two technicians from the gas company were dispatched. Upon entering the building, they found they had difficulty navigating in the dark. To their frustration, none of the lights worked.

Witnesses later described the vision of one of the technicians reaching into his pocket and retrieving an object that resembled a lighter. Upon operation of the lighter-like object, the gas in the warehouse exploded, sending pieces of it up to three miles away.

Nothing was found of the technicians, but the lighter was virtually untouched by the explosion. The technician that was suspected of causing the explosion had never been thought of as “bright” by his peers.

I have never known anyone who caused such a great explosion. There are, however, some people who make the same mistake in a spiritual sense. They encounter a volatile situation and handle it poorly — with an angry response, an unkind word of sarcasm, or a lack of respect for the feelings of others. And before anybody realizes the foolishness of what is said, everything explodes, and there is nothing left to do but pick up the pieces for years to come.

Have I known someone like that? Sadly, there are times that I have been someone like that.

“Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; and where there is no talebearer, strife ceases. As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife.” (Proverbs 26:20-21)

May God help us to be people known for having a calming influence on volatile situations rather than those whose actions result in explosions.

Alan Smith


Dealing With Volatile Situations