Proverbs 20:3 It is honorable for a man to stop striving, since any fool can start a quarrel.
Drama… we all hate it (or say we do), yet it seems to be a constant feature in the lives of many. As I ask the question, “Who are you having problems with right now?”, some of you will immediately have a name or face come to mind. Maybe it’s a boss or coworker that you find yourself constantly butting heads with. Perhaps you and your spouse are in the middle of an argument over some issue in the home. Or you could still be seething about an insensitive remark someone made at church last weekend.
Whatever the issue, whoever the person, you find yourself in a place of strife. Merriam-Webster defines strife as:
bitter sometimes violent conflict or dissension; exertion or contention for superiority
In other words, you’re at war and you want to win! Bad news… you probably can’t and won’t. Sorry! The truth is, once a situation has reached the level of strife, it’s no longer about simply resolving an issue and coming to a rational agreement. It’s about winning. It’s about proving that I’m right or, as Webster says, I’m superior, which of course means that they are wrong, or inferior. It’s become an issue of pride.
So, how do we break the impasse? Surrender! Let the other side have the victory, for now, and just walk away from the fight. Refuse to participate in it. There are only two ways to end strife:
1) Destroy your opponent so they can’t fight anymore (Hardly seems like the honorable, godly direction to go), or…
2) Don’t strive… Refuse to fight. Walk off the battlefield. Our text says this is the choice of an honorable person.
I know what you’re thinking… “But I’m right. Why would I let the wrong side win?” Remember, once we’re at Strife Level Red, it’s no longer about right and wrong. The original issue has been lost on the battlefield. Now, its about proving my superiority. That isn’t a battle any Christian should fight to win. Surrender your pride and let the tension cool down. Then, if the issue really matters, bring it back up in a non-confrontational way and try again.
Remember, any fool can start a quarrel but it takes a man or woman of honor and humility to end one.