Fire fighters often fight a fire with fire. They set
controlled fires in front of a wild fire hoping to burn
up the fuel source so the wild fire has nothing left
The phrase "fight fire with fire" is also used to
reflect the idea that you use the same tactics to fight
people who attack you.
For example, some people suggest we should fight terrorist
using the same tactics they use, fighting fire with
And it's like a bully at school picking on people.
Someone may say, "We have to fight fire with fire,"
suggesting they use the same tactics against the bully
he's using against them.
Christians Fight Fire with Fire
Paul says that a godly response toward an enemy "will
heap coals of fire on his head" (Rom. 12:20, NKJ).
So as Christians, we fight fire with fire. But our
fire is different from that used by our enemies.
Our Fire is Goodness
Paul says, "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he
is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will
heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome by
evil, but overcome evil with good" (Rom. 12:20-21, NKJ).
When we respond to an enemy with goodness, it heaps
coals of burning fire on his head. We fight fire with
Goodness cuts our enemy to the quick, and hurts him
more than merely retaliating with the same bad behavior
he's shown us.
As a result, our enemy will respond in one of two
ways. He'll see the error of his way and repent. Or
he'll be inflamed and continue to mistreat us.
This is exactly what happened on Pentecost (Acts 2).
People convicted by the gospel responded one of two
ways. Some were pricked in their hearts and repented,
while others rebelled and fiercely fought against the
As Christians, the fire we fight with is goodness,
which sounds like a contradiction. But when we understand
the power of goodness to change people, we know it's
the strongest weapon we have to fight evil, and bring
people to God.
The Power of Goodness to Change People
Many in the world know the power of goodness to change
people, thus the expression, "Kill'em with kindness."
Peter illustrates the power of goodness when a wife
wins her husband over to Christ, without saying a word.
Her chaste behavior and respectful behavior wins him
over (1 Pet. 3:1-2).
Figuratively speaking, the wife fought fire with fire.
But her fire was different from her husband's. Her fire
was goodness, which extinguished her husband's
fire and won him to Christ.
We Fight with Prayer
Jesus teaches us to pray for our enemies.
- "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love
your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you,
love your enemies and pray for those who
persecute you" (Matt. 5:43-44).
Praying for an enemy may be the last thing you think
of, but it's one of the best things you can do.
To truly pray for an enemy you have to love him, and
have his best interests in mind. This alone could help
resolve the conflict.
But more importantly, when we ask God to help an enemy,
and to help us in our relationship with him, we appeal
for divine help. We don't merely pray for a personal
victory, but for God's power to aid both parties, and
bring about a positive outcome.
We Fight with Acts of Kindness
Kindness is a powerful weapon against evil, if we desire
for men to repent and obey God.
Paul says, "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if
he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you
will heap coals of fire on his head" (Rom. 12:20).
When we are kind to our enemies we shine our lights,
and show the way to salvation (Matt. 5:14-16). And sometimes,
an enemy becomes a friend, or even a brother in Christ.
We Fight with the Gospel
Most importantly, we fight our enemies with God's word,
the gospel, the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17).
The gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Rom.
1:16). And more than anything, our enemies need salvation,
and the power to live as God teaches.
So the most important weapon in our arsenal against
an enemy is God's word, as we speak the truth in love
When men oppose us as faithful children of God, and
refuse to live at peace, we don't take our own vengeance
We fight back as God commands, with goodness and prayer
and the gospel.
In this way we fight fire with fire. Not by lowering
ourselves to a sinful level, but by fighting as God
desires, in a way that glorifies Him, and brings men