… On Life and Conduct, continued …
This morning I read through Proverbs 20 noting the thoughts the Spirit emphasized as I read:
- Plans, understanding and guidance – verses 5 and 18
- Integrity’s carry-over to my son (I think my daughter will also benefit) 😉 and their children when that day comes – verse 7
- The Lord’s direct influence, shall we say, over my day-to-day life. I should not be surprised that I don’t understand what He’s doing at times, nor should I be amazed when I look back over the years and begin to see not-so-subtle indications of His being at work every step of the way. verse 24.
With that thought in mind I went back to verse three. Years ago, on a day I decided it was time to leave a situation characterized by ongoing strife, I wrote the date in the margin next to this verse. I came to the realization that day that to step away could be done with honor and would actually BE an honorable thing to do. Looking back I can see how God has played an ongoing, ever-watchful role for me and my family, not just since then, but certainly including that decision.
It wasn’t the easiest lesson to learn, but through the years I’ve learned the value of avoiding strife (or ceasing from it, as some translations read). It’s not an excuse for going passive or anything, but sometimes a conversation just needs to end. Sometimes the discussion needs to not even start. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said “We don’t agree on this and I doubt either of us will change the other’s mind; is it a good idea for us to continue?” I like how Solomon says it: Any fool will quarrel. It takes self-discipline and a particular focus to have strong views and convictions —which I do—without being argumentative. I’m thankful for Proverbs 20.3 – looking back over the years this morning I see that this little verse influenced me more than I realized.
Thank You, Father, for the ongoing ministry of your Word in the hearts and minds of those who know You as Savior and Lord.