The beginning of strife is like releasing water; therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts. -Proverbs 17:14
Picture a dam breaking and releasing water. The water gushes out with a force that will wipe out anything in its path. That swift water destroys, bruises, breaks, and tumbles objects under its current. Strife is similar in its pattern of movement and its effect. Although we may not see the hurt feelings, a broken heart, a bruised ego, or a rejected or condemned spirit, they are no less real and often have greater consequences than broken objects. Many people are walking in various broken states that could have been avoided. Strife is a big drain and takes its toll on our emotions, energy, physical health, mental well being, and it is such a waste of our time.
How do we stop contention before a quarrel starts? I think it goes back to our motives. Do we want to get our way or prove that we are in control? Or is our motivation concern for the people involved? If so, then we may find a way to not break the dam, stop contention before a quarrel starts. How many lawsuits and divorces could have been avoided? Many people in the midst of those quarrels ask, “How did it come to this?” And they often wish it had never gotten that far, but it is hard to undo, hard to put the water back into the dam.
Action: Seek to stop contention before a quarrel starts.