Proverbs 17: 2020 Bible Challenge

Devotional Text and Meditation for the Day

Marty Orcurto

Proverbs 17:14

Ever wish you could just take that one word or phrase back?  In the heat of argument, we say that one thing to feel better and then . . .

This is precisely what Proverbs 17:14 warns us against – the destructive force of unchecked strife (or sin) in our life. It is seething below the surface ready to be released with the slightest prick leaving only destruction in its wake.

It would be easy to just look at the exterior of this proverb and walk away with an admonition to exercise control over our words lest they get us into trouble, but it really goes deeper than that.  Our attempt would be futile if we did not look at the true source of the strife lurking beneath. To see it you need to look past the strife asking, “What is behind it?” There, if we are honest with ourselves, we will find jealousy, bitterness, and resentment being fueled by what I want, what I deserve, how I feel, or how I was hurt. Go deeper still and see there is a common factor – all these are firmly rooted in ME. It is all about me . . . and my selfish pride. When the sin of pride is permitted to go unchecked it takes but one prick, one word and the tongue becomes a conduit spewing out what lives in the selfish heart leaving only destruction and disgrace behind (Prov 11:2, 16:18; James 3:6).

So how do we “quit” it before it breaks out?

  1. Examine your heart.  See the sin within it as the true source of strife and not the other person. (James 4:1)
  2. Repent of the pride. Humble yourself and determine with God’s help to root it out, as often as necessary. (James 4:5-10, 1 Peter 5:5b-6)
  3. Take every thought captive. Know that it is what feeds the mind which drives the heart and comes out of the mouth. (2 Cor 10:5; 1 Peter 1:13, 4:7, 5:8; Prov 22:10)
  4. Guard your tongue. Remember a soft answer turns away wrath, while a sharp tongue pricks the churning heart. (Ps 141:3; James 1:19-20, 3:5-10; Prov 12:18, 14:29, 15:1,18, 16:32, 17:27-28)

Before you find yourself looking back upon the destruction in the wake of an argument wishing you could go back, ask yourself – What am I allowing to churn below the surface within my heart?

Read Proverbs 17: BibleHub.com | Bible.com

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