Hurricane Katrina was “one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States.” The tropical storm was particularly devastating to the city of New Orleans that experienced a breach of its levees and dams, flooding a major portion of the city and displacing nearly 26,000 people. The devastation inflicted by Hurricane Katrina on the city of New Orleans in 2005 is indicative of the truth expressed in today’s devotional proverb, Proverbs 17:14.
Proverbs 17:14 – “The beginning [firstfruits] of strife [discord; contention; quarrel] is as when one letteth out [opens; frees] water [leaks through; i.e. leak in a dam that erodes]: therefore leave off [disperse; reject; let alone] contention [strife; dispute; controversy], before it be meddled with [break out; explodes; be exposed].”
As a breach and unattended leak in the wall of a dam can threaten the integrity of the whole structure, so to does a quarrelsome, contentious spirit threaten the peace of a home, church and community. Solomon warned his son that a negative spirit in the palace would become a cancer in the kingdom. If not aggressively addressed and cut out, a contentious, critical spirit will eventually cost the well-being of the whole.
I believe Proverbs 17:14 addresses one of the greatest sins in today’s home, churches and society. Too many of us ignore the danger of a negative, contentious spirit and the result is devastating—like a little leak, a break in a dam, can eventually be devastating, destroying property and lives.
In his letter to the church at Philippi, the apostle Paul addressed a conflict between two women that threatened the peace and testimony of the church (Philippians 4:2-3). Euodias and Syntyche, both of whom had labored beside Paul in the ministry, were caught up in a disagreement and Paul, in a public letter to the church, challenges a member of the church [“true yokefellow”] to “help those women” (Phil. 4:3).
There are some reading this brief devotional that need to heed Solomon’s advise—Don’t meddle, insert your nose and stir up strife that does not belong to you. Far too many Christians, under the guise of “seeking counsel”, put friendship above truth and righteousness, and allow the contentious spirit of another to poison the well.
What is the right response to strife and discord?
Either help stop it or refuse to entertain it!
Copyright 2014 – Travis D. Smith