“The beginning of strife is like letting out water, So abandon the quarrel before it breaks
out.” (Proverbs 17:14, NASB95)
Once you open the flood gates, they are hard to close! Once the water begins to flow, the
seal is not easily repaired. Once the fight begins, the damage is done.
When should we “abandon the quarrel before it breaks out”? Certainly this is not true of
every battle. There is a time for peace and a time for war. Here are some principles to
help you know if the fight is worth it.
First, is the name and honor of God at stake? If so, before you proceed, ask “Will a battle
bring honor to God more than my silence?” If so, fight the battle.
Second, is a principle of scripture dishonored in order to fight the battle? Slaves are to
obey their master, children obey their parents, and subjects obey their King. Only rarely
does the Lord allow these principles to be broken for the sake of higher principles. If
your quarrel involves authority, consider whom God has placed in authority and honor
that to the greatest degree possible.
Third, is there an exit strategy? No one is blessed by never-ending strife. If you must
enter battle, make sure that, when the time comes, you can walk away from the battle as
well. If you take a matter to your boss, make sure you can leave it with him after taking
it to him (or that you can leave the job with him!). If you take a matter to your spouse,
make sure there is an exit strategy to the strife because your commitment “’till death do
us part” does not allow an exit from your marriage. Make sure that you will be able to
stop whatever strife you begin.
Be very careful “picking fights.” Work to be a peacemaker and problem-solver. You
will bless yourself, your church, your family, and your God!
In His Grace,
Dr. Randy White
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