Defusing the Bomb

Image taken from a post entitled “stop being so angry” at

Last Saturday a man living close to me was having a really bad day

I believe that stress, and lack of money led him to spend the day smoking marijuana and drinking rum. This led to some bizarre actions (He would openly weep about the lack of money one moment, and respond in anger the next).

Saturday evening I heard a commotion outside and saw him standing in the middle of the road. At almost the same moment, a friend came down tell the neighbor to leave my dog alone (I later learned he had been hitting my dog who was securely leashed with a stick). Things calmed down, and then the man came out again loudly cursing me (he claimed my dog bit him, which didn’t happen) and the friend.

My friend responded by coming back down ready to physically attack him…..

thankfully I got out the gate before that happened.

As I approached the neighbor he started to immediately calm down. Within a few moments he apologized for how he acted, and asked me to forgive him.

This experience was a vivid reminder that many of us are walking time bombs!

All of us experience stress in life. Normally that stress is at a manageable level, but occasionally the stress of life begins to overwhelm us. Slowly but surely we become more and more burdened, like a rubber band that has been stretched too tight. And like that rubber band, eventually we will have to snap!

Interestingly, it’s usually a small thing that causes an explosion. My dog can peep his head just over the wall surrounding my house (but not bite anybody). I honestly believe in his inebriated state my neighbor THOUGHT the dog had bitten him, and began hitting the dog with a stick to defend himself. It’s also possible he was just trying to play with the dog. But a small thing may have become violent if I hadn’t come to intervene.

Which is why God calls us to defuse the bomb!

The temptation in situations like this to respond with anger or hostility. But that only makes the situation worse! God only gets the glory as we enter into that volatile situation, and bring peace

  1. With a calm (but firm) voice
  2. By separating the individuals (I asked my friend to walk away in order to calm the situation)
  3. By finding out exactly what is making them so angry, and empathizing
  4. By apologizing for what took place (if possible)
  5. And by asking them to help calm the situation

Most of all defusing the bomb illustrates the Gospel which brings peace into chaos!

I was angry when I walked out of my gate Saturday since the neighbor had been acting foolish all day, but by the Grace of God, the Holy Spirit calmed my heart as I walked across the road. So as I walked down the steps towards him it wasn’t with a shouting voice, but one filled with concern.

It was amazing how the peace I displayed affected him….

  1. He immediately put down the cutlass he was carrying (I don’t believe he would do anything with it).
  2. Kept repeating the words “your my friend”
  3. and held his hand out for me to shake (in that moment I didn’t shake it, but made clear I cared about him)
  4. He then told me there would be no more trouble, and left

Later some friends told me the situation went from rage to calmness because I acted like Christ. I’m not sure about that, but know the catalyst of that change was the Holy Spirit’s peace in my heart. As Colossians 3:15 says, “let the peace of God rule in your hearts.” When the peace of the Holy Spirit controls our lives (we rest in God’s sovereignty) we not only keep from being bombs ourselves, but defuse those around us.

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