Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out. Proverbs 17:14 (NIV)
Who started it? Who started what? Who started the argument? I don’t even remember. What is the argument about? I can’t remember that either. Let me get this straight. You are in a quarrel and angry dispute. You can’t remember who started it? You can’t remember what the quarrel and angry dispute is all about? No, not really. Does this make sense to you? No, not really. Maybe, I should ask you different questions. Like what? Who is going to drop it? Who is going to let go of their anger? Who is going to refuse to be drawn into a quarrel? Who is not going to let a dispute break out? Would that be me? You tell me. Would that be you? I hope so. Why is that? I would like to be a peacemaker. I am tired of being drawn into quarrels. I am done with being in angry disputes. That sounds good.
Why is it good to drop a quarrel before a dispute has any chance to break out? Nothing will damage relationships more than angry quarrels and bitter disputes. Nothing will dim the brightness of my witness for you quite like being in a bitter dispute with someone. That’s true. What else? Once a quarrel breaks out it is very difficult to restrain it. An angry quarrel is like breaking a dam. The force is overpowering. The damage can be staggering. It might be almost impossible to put things back together as they once were. Has that ever happened to you? Yes, it has. I have some damaged relationships that will probably never be restored. That’s too bad. Yes, it is.
What would you like to do differently? I would like to drop whatever differences I have with others. I would like to have wisdom to know the true costs of angry quarrels and bitter disputes. I would like to value relationships with people over being right or winning an argument. I would like to be known as a peacemaker over having things always go my way. If I have to suffer some pain or experience some loss over maintaining an important relationship I will do it. Why is that? I want to become like you. I want to live like you lived. I want to do what you did. You didn’t assert your rights. You didn’t seek your own privileges. You experienced pain and suffering and loss. You did not engage in angry quarrels or become entangled in bitter disputes. You didn’t fight to be right. You did seek to win arguments at all costs. You laid down your rights. You poured yourself out. You gave your life so that others could live. Yes, I did. Will you do all these things for me? Yes Lord, I will.
Lord, I have been a debater. I have started quarrels. I have unnecessarily allowed myself to become engaged in heated disputes. Help me to learn how to drop matters that are not worth becoming involved in a never ending flood of debating and angry quarreling. Amen
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