Christmas break is winding down and for the most part it has been enjoyable. My two children have been playing and fighting just like normal siblings do, but it is the constant tattling and whining that is irritating the mess out of me.
This morning as they sat in the livingroom to play Guess Who, I opened up my Bible at the table just to see if something would just jump out at me and VOILA!! Proverbs 17:14.
“The beginning of strife is like letting out water, So abandon the quarrel before it breaks out.”
I knew right then and there I had a lesson for not just my kids but for myself. I took my Bible into the livingroom and sat on the couch and invited them both to sit with me, which they eagerly did. As we sat and talked out what this verse means and role played out what abandon means and how to find a solution to a quarrel, I realized the Holy Spirit was all over this. This was not my idea to do this lesson this morning. I have been voicing to my husband that I need to pray for their little hearts more and God led me to the action now to take the time and teach them. God used the calm of that moment to teach them from His word some truths that not even I have seen before.
I know we are human and will allow our emotions to control our reactions sometimes, but now that we have seen this verse, I cannot help but repeat these words to myself. I tend to overreact and really just to my kids. I don’t know if it is because I am a stay at home mom, but I tend to start bickering with them and realize, wait I am the parent! I am doing exactly what they are doing, how am I showing them solutions to fighting?!
I have broken this verse down and wanted to share with you some helpful insights that I was led to today.
When I look at this verse I see a picture of water being released. “The beginning of strife is like letting out water.” I asked my son if he were to see water pouring down our chimney and out of the fireplace, would he stand there and keep watching it or run away fast? He said he would run away screaming, “Ahh! Run away!”
It was perfect because that is what we are told to do about quarreling! The end to this verse says “So ABANDON the quarrel before it breaks out!
Abandon -natash or naw-tash, is a primitive root. A verb meaning to properly pound, smite, to disperse, also to reject, to forsake, or to leave alone.
Quarrel- riyb or reeb, is a masculine noun meaning to contend(-tion), controversy, chiding. This is also used in a legal sense to refer to an argument or case made in one’s defense (Proverbs 18:17)
We are encouraged to stop or to reject contention before a fight breaks out.
There are two types of people that Proverbs mentions over and over. The calm spirited (wise) man and the quick tempered (foolish) man.
The calm spirited man is mentioned, in the context of using his words, in Proverbs 17:27:
“He who restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.”
Restrains is used in Proverbs 10:19: “When there are many words transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise.”
And the same concept is found in James 1:19– “Be quick to hear and slow to speak.”
The word “knowledge” in Proverbs 17:27 (written out above) is associated with the biblical concept of wisdom. This word is used in this context 40 out of the 91 times it occurs in Proverbs!
“Cool Spirit” or calm spirit is defined in Proverbs 14:29a: “He who is slow to anger has GREAT wisdom.”
This type of person is a responder and not a reactor. They see a problem and will calmly focus on a solution to create peace.
The quick-tempered man is someone who is “short of spirit”. This type of individual is reactive and usually acts upon emotion. The end of Proverbs 14:29 says: “But he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.”
The quick-tempered person reacts and causes chaos. This has been a major conviction to my heart today. I tend to react more than I respond. It is humbling to think about because as a parent you want to be right all the time. But it takes a wise and calm spirit to remember that we are not always right and may have to apologize first. God is working on me with that one.
I greatly desire to be a calm spirit. That when I walk into a room, mainly at my house, that I can be a responder more than a reactor to chaos or messes. I tend to be more relaxed and calm in public places because my introverted self comes out more. I want to be calm every place I go. And today has been a great start to that process. When we take a moment to invite the Holy Spirit in, He then can clean the clutter out, that may be hindering us to be that calm spirit of few words.
Invite Him in to your situation right now and allow His peace to rule in your heart. Sometimes you have to lose, to win.