Every so often we find ourselves right on the verge of conflict don’t we? It may be with family, with friends, with a co-worker. But there you are, right there, poised, ready to fight. Ready to respond tit-for-tat.
What do you do? When that happens to you next time, I want you to remember what we hear today in Proverbs 17: 13-14:
13 Evil will not depart from the house
of one who returns evil for good.
14 The beginning of strife is like letting out water;
so stop before the quarrel breaks out.
It’s so easy to respond to harsh words with harsh words ourselves. It is easy to strike back, especially when we feel like we have been attacked ourselves. It’s so easy to respond in that way.
But when we do that, remember. Nothing good comes from that. Nothing good at all. Verse 13 says that evil does not depart from the house of the one that returns evil. Why? Because there will always be a reason, a cause, something that would make you respond with evil.
Responding back with evil, or harsh words, or continuing the hurt, that never, ever, ever helps anything. It only comes back on us, it only harms us.
Verse 14 shows us the way far forward. Stop before the fight starts.
My mom said once, “You don’t have to attend every fight you’re invited to.” Cooler heads must prevail. Everything is not a fight. Listen to that again.
Everything is not a fight.
You don’t have to respond with language that escalates. You don’t. It’s not worth it.
Grace wins. Love wins. Kindness wins. Peace wins. Respond in that way. Bring the temperature down. Speak kindness into the brokenness and fear.
And see what happens.