10th January, 2005 - Article Copyrighted Debbie Porter
"The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice."
~ Proverbs 12:15 NIV ~
When I was a very young girl, I was quite terrified of fireworks. It didn't matter if it was a big display or just a back yard "cracker" night -- the sound of the explosions sent me running for cover. This fear was exacerbated just a little when I grabbed the wrong end of a lit sparkler my mother was handing to me.
Somewhere along the way though, as I reached those slightly more adventurous pre-teen years, I discovered that fireworks could be a lot of fun and have fond memories of my sister, Diane, and I buying boxes and boxes of exciting fireworks, then poring over them in anticipation of Cracker Night!
Catherine Wheels, Roman Candles, Golden Showers, Rockets, Tom Thumbs, Throw Downs, Bungers ... they made celebrating the Queen's Birthday weekend in June each year something to really look forward to.
Even after the night was done and all the fireworks had served their purpose, the "fun" wasn't completely over. I remember scouring through the garden for the charred remains of our "crackers" and uncovering the exotic Chinese newspapers from which so many of them had been manufactured. To top it off, there were even little parachutes to be found hanging in our trees or on the lawn -- by-products of one of the pricier fireworks available, which shot explosive flashes into the air, which then floated gracefully back to earth with the aid of paper parachutes.
But then, as a few more years were added to my age and the idea of sending weeks of pocket money up in smoke became less appealing, I once again lost interest in the whole event. So when our State Government began a process of banning fireworks (other than professional displays) in New South Wales, I really wasn't all that bothered.
Maturity had brought the realization that my original opinion of "crackers" was probably a more accurate one -- they were very dangerous.
So, starting with the purely explosive variety of fireworks -- the ones that look like little sticks of dynamite -- the banning process began. Several years later, all non-professional fireworks were illegal in New South Wales.
For quite a while, there was an "explosion" of professional displays on the Queen's Birthday long weekend each year, provided by local community groups and organizations -- and the neighborhoods were silent.
Then one year there were a few explosions and flashes to be seen in our area. Then the next year there were a few more ... and the next year quite a lot more. Now, several years later, there seem to be more backyard fireworks in our local area than at any other time -– and not just for that one weekend. Now there are also fireworks for birthdays, fireworks for Christmas, fireworks for graduation, fireworks for anniversaries, fireworks for engagement parties, and the biggest of all, fireworks for New Year.
I even suspect that there are occasionally fireworks for no particular reason at all.
How could this be so? After all, fireworks are illegal in New South Wales ... aren't they?
The answer to that is, quite simply, yes. It is illegal to sell fireworks in our State -- which is why "pyromaniacs" head to our National Capital, Canberra, where fireworks are sold legally. They buy them, bring them home and save them to use at their next special occasion or celebration.
Although it is illegal to buy fireworks in New South Wales, you can still set them off as long as you have a permit to do so -- and I'm sure that some do actually make the effort to obtain that. But the reality is that many, many more don't. It has become, virtually, a fireworks free-for-all.
Some would say, "Hey, where's the harm in it? Everyone else is doing it, so why shouldn't I?"
Well, many children and adults from both now and years gone by, who have lost their eyesight, fingers and worse, would be quick to point out the harm factor; closely followed by all the pet dogs and cats who cringe in terror at the sound of the first explosion. Add a good dose of air pollution and the risk of starting a fire, and the reason for the ban is fairly obvious.
As for the "everyone else is doing it" argument ... well, any parent would agree that particular excuse has never held water. Just because something seems right in our eyes and those of our friends, doesn't necessarily mean that it's right in the eyes of the Law, or for that matter, in the eyes of God.
We can be really good at trying to justify wrong behavior (of any kind) by saying that everyone else is doing it, or that we aren't hurting anyone. But you know what? It's just not true ... and eventually that argument is going to end up being shot down in flames.
Something to Think About ...
How do you determine the right way to live and act? Do you base it on how you see other people behaving? Do you follow what seems to be the most popular course of action? Do you seek advice from others? Or do you just make up your own mind based on your upbringing and own sense of morality?
I guess we all can be influenced by outside sources at times, but there really is only one way to be sure that our decision is righteous -- rather than just acceptable in the eyes of man. We need to turn to the perfect Counselor, and let Him show us the righteous way as we search for truth in His Word, which is of course the best book of advice ever!
Father God ...
Forgive us for those times when we try to justify ourselves in our own eyes, ignoring the righteousness that's found in Your truth.
Search our hearts dear Lord, and show us any areas where we are compromising, justifying or deceiving ourselves.
May we always turn to Your Word and allow Your Holy Spirit to show us the perfect way.
In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.