Maybe it’s because I have a couple of challenging relationships in my life at the moment, but these proverbs spoke to me today about how we are to treat each other, who we are to be in relationships. I would challenge you to read these chapters and look for examples, even if there is no discord in your life right now. Because there will be before long. No one is immune.
17:14 jumped out at me first:
Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.
It just seems that, in our modern society, people look for reasons to be upset. Someone has stepped on my “rights” or hurt my feelings, so I’m going to do what’s best for me and make a big deal out of it, no matter who I hurt. Solomon seems to be advising against that.
Then I backed up and read verse 13:
If a man pays back evil for good, evil will never leave his house.
Never is a long time, my friend.
There are other verses that spoke to me, like 17:27:
A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, a man of understanding is even-tempered.
Then Solomon goes on in the next verse to say:
Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.
A fool finds no pleasure in understanding, but delights in airing his own opinion.
I don’t watch talk shows for this very reason. I don’t enjoy debating with people whose agenda it is to get their point across, without trying to understand another’s. But if I read verses like this and think of that opinionated person who is making my life difficult, I need to read it again. God’s not talking to me about SuzieQ down the street. God is speaking to me, about me. And I certainly don’t want to be the one who is guilty of being opinionated without understanding. I need to read all of these proverbs and remember that I’m not responsible for another’s behavior. I am responsible for mine, however.
These chapters have me asking myself, on what do I base relationships? And are those people closest to me encouraging me in my walk with the Lord?
Can people recognize the wisdom which comes from God in me? Or do they recognize me as a fool because of my tongue, my attitude, my dealings with all kinds of people?
I’d like to repeat my challenge to you today, and encourage you to read these proverbs in light of your relationships. Sometimes relationships are challenging because WE aren’t being the people WE need to be.
May God bless you as you seek wisdom, as you grow in knowledge, and as you apply these truths to your life. And may God be glorified in all our relationships.