Proverbs 26

The Sluggard and the Fool   Ah-yes, what an inspiring chapter.    [li’l smile]

Two things stood out to me this morning:

Are you as tired as I am of that last-minute excuse?  “I was joking.   I was only kidding.”  and the implied “–so leave me alone.”  I’ve even seen this on the evening news, political hopefuls saying “it was a joke”.  Yeah, well, the wise who wrote these sayings didn’t think too highly of that behavior a thousand years before Christ, I don’t have to like it either.  

Like a madman shooting firebrands or deadly arrows is a man who deceives his neighbor and says “I was only joking!”   18-19

 ______

Verse 20 and 21 convey a good principle too.  Your grandmother may have said, as mine did,  “It takes two to quarrel.”   There are many things in life that take two, quarreling being one of them.

Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.   As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.  20-21

Some modern-day applications of this principle include

  • Deliberately not feeding a family dispute.
  • Not answering inflammatory Emails 
  • Not posting an opinion in the middle of a blog comment stream (because you’re almost certain of how it will be received – or not)
  • Excusing yourself from a breakroom conversation at work when you can see the thunderheads of a quarrel on the horizon
  • Refusing to look at the furious driver next to you (Limousine drivers know this one very well)

If the principle is true of strife and quarrels,  it would likely also be true of the positive side of relationships

  • Intentionally adding wood to the fires of restoration and reconciliation
  • Applying “If it isn’t positive, it isn’t Email” to work and home, and then SENDing those positive Email messages to encourage and brighten
  • Being the first to comment on a blog entry, setting a positive tone
  • Introducing the fruit of the spirit into conversations in a casual, unobtrusive way (positive subversion if you want to think of it that way)
  • Courtesy, expecting nothing in return  – at work, at home, on the highway.

What comes to mind for you?  

Phil—


2 Replies to “Proverbs 26”

  1. Cade

    You have a knack for “positive subversion”. You do a great job of introducing the truth in a way that is convicting without being offensive (maybe it’s just convicting to me though. Doh). A rare trait.

    Thank you for your insights Phil. I will try to apply them in my own life and relationships.

  2. Phil

    Thanks Cade! Nice to know “positive subversion” works 😀 I learned it from two great teachers.

    Eugene Peterson is one (author and pastor near Omaha, NE) who wrote that sometimes the best contribution to a discussion is the question “Is it really?” planting seeds of doubt in the enemy’s fields the way he scatters tares in with OUR wheat.

    My Dad was a master at asking insightful questions to lead me to conclusions. (When I didn’t agree with him, he’d ask more!) Much of my approach comes to me naturally, I suppose, it being the approach that shaped me as I grew up.

    I’d much rather you all think about what you read here and come to your own conclusions than to hammer it in and risk breaking something in the process. When you discover there’s something you want to change, (or something God asks you to surrender to Him) always remember we can ask and He will provide the strength, the ability, even the want-to to live like He wants us to. The branch receives EVERYthing from the vine (John 15) including right desires.

    Enjoy the progress and give Him the credit, it’s a wonderful journey!

    Phil—

    By the way, Cade’s was the first comment in this string and he set a positive tone – that oughtta be worth an “A for the Day”! 😆

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