Proverbs Daily Devotionals
Kevin Ledbetter, Pastor of Fine Arts & Senior Adults
Do not go forth hastily to strive;
lest you do not know what to do in the end,
when your neighbor has put you to shame.
Debate your cause with your neighbor himself,
and do not disclose a secret to another;
lest he who hears it put you to shame, and your reputation be ruined.
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.
As an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold,
so is a wise reprover to an obedient ear.
No matter what we do in the Christian life, we can be sure of one thing…there will be problems with people. Whether inside the church or outside, human conflict is a constant occurrence running throughout human history. How we handle conflict says a lot about our character and ultimately how Christ-like we are. In the New Testament, unity in Christ was something that needed constant attention in the church. In the book of Philippians there were women who had trouble getting along, so Paul wrote in his epistle,“I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord” (Philippians 4:2).
Scripture shares so much wisdom in the area of godly reconciliation which leads to peace. It requires that we keep things private between us and the party that we are having difficulty with. We are to bring the situation to others only when we are unable to bring about a resolution in private. This method is clearly laid out in Matthew 18:15-16: “Now if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, then take with you one or two others, that by the testimony of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” As we can see, God’s plan for us is to work at fixing our conflicts privately. We should only involve others if it is necessary to fix the problem, and even then it is with only a few people. This is not always easy to do and our human nature would often rather just complain to someone else about the problem. Our goal should always be one of restoration, not condemnation.
Galatians 6:1 puts it this way: “Brothers, if a man is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, watching yourselves, lest you also be tempted.” If we follow God’s plan for reconciliation we will all lead much more peaceful lives. Unity is always the goal in God’s family and keeping difficult matters private is a sure sign of spiritual maturity.
Proverbs 25:11 talks about a word “fitly spoken.” How we say something is as important as what we say. Proverbs 15:1 says, “ A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.” The next time you have a problem with someone, reflect on the above verses and make sure you are one of God’s peacemakers, not a peace breaker. There are great blessings to being a peacemaker. Jesus says in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”