I searched in vain to identify the source of an idiom I believe sums up our proverb for today, Proverbs 20:3. Unable to identify the source or the precise wording, I will state the principle in my own words:
“A wise man picks his battles and chooses the hill on which he is willing to die.”
Proverbs 20:3 – “It is an honour [honorable] for a man to cease [put an end to; desist] from strife [quarrels; contentions]: but every fool will be meddling [quarrel; break out in strife].”
Solomon taught his son that an honorable man pursues peace, but not at the sacrifice of his integrity, while a fool meddles in matters that provoke strife.
A wise course of action is to weigh in your heart whether or not a point of contention is realistically something for which you are willing to die. Is the conflict worth sacrificing a friendship? Is the provocation a principle or preference?
I have learned that some people are caustic, cantankerous and troublesome by nature. They are a source of strife everywhere they go—at home, school and work. They are a trouble to themselves and everyone around them. Realizing some people prefer strife, peace is not always possible. In his letter to Christians living in Rome, the apostle Paul wrote:
Romans 12:17-18 – “Recompense [repay; render] to no man evil for evil [i.e. retaliation]. Provide [take thought in advance] things honest [good; admirable] in the sight [in the presence] of all men. 18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you [as far as what is in your control], live peaceably [be at peace] with all men.”
Our passion and desire should be to live at peace with all men; however, it is not always possible.