Conflict, Clashing, and Competition
"Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor; only fools insist on quarreling." Proverbs 20:3 (NLT)
I have never been one who is big on fighting. Instead, I try to avoid any and all confrontations. Frankly, I do so because I think anyone could beat me physically or outwit me verbally. When confronted, I freeze. My mind doesn’t process combative situations quickly enough to respond. As soon the antagonizer leaves, I think of some amazing comebacks I wish I’d have said. Can I get a witness?
Yet, according to Scripture, it’s actually a good thing I don’t retort back. Of course, it’d be better if I didn’t respond because of self-control, rather than a lack of words. That’s why I’m working on adjusting my heart’s intentions as I aim to live out Proverbs 20:3 by not engaging in potential arguments.
Let’s take a look at the word fight in our key verse. It is also translated as strife. In this context, strife means vigorous or bitter conflict, discord, or antagonism; to clash; competition or rivalry.
As you see more clearly the meaning of the word fight, perhaps like me, you can see areas in your life where you engage in conflict or clash and compete with others. I may not always have a quick reply for every argument, but I can hang with the best of them with my husband and kids. Sometimes it’s over minor issues like how they load the dishwasher or leave socks in the hallway. Sometimes it’s about bigger issues like curfews and money.
Fighting doesn’t help solve the problem though. It only adds strife to our lives. I don’t know about you, but that is one thing I can do without! Though not always easy, I’m convicted to work hard to maintain the opposite of strife.
Sometimes avoiding an argument is difficult. Some people in our lives seem to have a knack for picking a fight or pushing our buttons. When we’re tempted to be combative, let’s focus instead on some promises found in Scripture that are much more rewarding than a sassy comeback.
A good antonym for strife is peace. Jesus tells us that peacemakers are blessed (Matthew 5:9) and Solomon tells us that those who advocate for peace by avoiding strife are honored. Seeking peace by staying away from fighting has great rewards. Let’s reach for our rewards by promoting peace within our relationships!
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