Proverbs 17:14, “Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.”
Have you ever noticed that there are some things in life not worth arguing about? Especially for those who are married, have you realized that sometimes it’s better to just drop the issue before a fight starts? I personally have learned this lesson the hard way. There has been many times in my marriage that I thought the matter was worth fighting over but in the end I learned that it wasn’t worth it.
I wonder how often you’ve wasted your time and even hurt others because you couldn’t drop an unimportant issue. All of us have done it. But God is offering us a better way; a way of grace.
On one hand, there are times when it’s good to work out our disagreements with people. In those times we need to share our point of view with biblical truth and with the love of God. Jesus described these kinds of issues in Matthew 18:15 when He said, “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you.” These issues need to be addressed because they involve sin and can have eternal consequences.
On the other hand, in today’s proverb, King Solomon is giving us the wisdom to not fight over every little annoyance or offense. For example, imagine if your wife wants to go grocery shopping on Saturday and have you watch the kids. However, you want to spend time with your friends watching the game. You let her know you were planning on watching the game and wish she would go another time. But she responds by saying that this is the best time for her and the kids. Now you have two choices; (A) You can start an argument with your wife and let her know how annoyed you are with her, or (B) You can drop the issue and let your friends know you’ll be coming over later.
Not every conflict will be with people we’re close to, so we might think that breaching the dam with others outside of our family and close friends is not so bad. However, the same principle applies. Is everything that upsets you on your job, in traffic, on social media; worth your time and loss of peace? Don’t let others take your peace and waste your time. Learn to let the little stuff go; you’ll be better off when you do.
Likewise, King Solomon is not teaching us to be everyone’s “doormat,” but he is reminding us that when we start arguments over minor issues, they’ll cause our lives to crack and waste our time. We need to learn that it’s wise to “drop” the small matters in life that cause fruitless arguments, especially with our loved ones. It’s better to have people in our lives that love us despite our differences than to try and make everyone think and act exactly like us.
Remember the ole’ saying, “Major on the majors and minor on the minors.” So the next time you’re about ready to give someone a piece of your mind, ask yourself, “Is giving this person a piece of my mind worth breaching a dam?”
- What are two of the most common, but unimportant issues in your life that tempt you to argue?
- Pray and ask God to give you ways to avoid petty arguments.
- Be gracious and gentle with others as God has been gracious and gentle with you (Philippians 4:5).