For the month of May, we will be Praying Through The Proverbs. Unlike a Bible study, we will simply pray a few key Scriptures each day. We’ll concentrate on how these verses apply to our individual lives, and ask God to reveal to us if there is anything specific we need to repent of or work on. Today we consider Chapter 26.*
Today’s verses deal, again, with how we speak to others.
Key Verses in Chapter 26:
v.4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.
This is talking about those that-remark-doesn’t-deserve-an-answer situations. It was most likely said just to goad you, so you’ll only look foolish if you respond. Don’t take the bait.
v.5 Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.
At first glance, this seems contradictory to v.4….but what it is saying is that sometimes it is necessary to answer a foolish or provacative remark…if only to rebuke them and show how conceited he is.
v.17 Like one who seizes a dog by the ears is a passer-by who meddles in a quarrel not his own.
Don’t interfere in someone else’s quarrel….especially a married couple’s. They will likely only snarl at you, or may even “bite” you for your effort.
*As someone who has experienced emotional and physical abuse, however, I would add that if you sense one of the parties is in imminent physical danger, it would be okay to try to get them to leave with you so things can die down….or it may be best to simply call the authorities. Either way, pray first and be very cautious about your choice. And be prepared that your interference may not be – at least immediately – welcomed. :/
v.18-19 Like a madman shooting firebrands or deadly arrows is a man who deceives his neighbor and says, “I was only joking!”
Once hurtful words are spoken, the damage is done, and trying to dismiss them as “just joking” only makes it worse! Laughing it off only adds to their humiliation.
v20 Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.
If you don’t add fuel to the fire, the matter will die out on its own. Gossip or rumor cannot hurt anyone until it is told, and the only was to stop the damage is to stop the gossip.
v.21 As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.
Only someone intent on hurting others would stoke a fire (gossip, or a quarrel) that is dying out on its own.
v.22 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts.
Our words cut deeper than a knife and their wounds take longer to heal. Hurtful words are often more difficult to forgive; we all know we wouldn’t have said it if it wasn’t what we were truly thinking.
Father God, I humbly enter this, my secret place, and acknowledge I am in the Presence of the One True God. Thank You for meeting me here. Forgive me so I can stand in Your Presence clean and holy.
Help me to control my tongue, Father. Give me discernment to know when to speak, and when to keep quiet.
Let the words that do leave my mouth only be full of Your grace and Truth….that they may bring healing and comfort, not pain or strife.
In Name of Jesus…