Daily D – Proverbs 29:11
Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back. PROVERBS 29:11 (NLT)
An invitation to argue arrived in my email inbox a couple of days ago. Someone responded to a publication I send to our mailing list each week. The correspondent did not care for a couple of thoughts from other people I included and wanted me to know using rather strong language.
Not many invitations to rumble like that come my way, a fact for which I am grateful. It took a while to determine how to respond. Wise counsel was sought and given. Prayer was employed. A fitting and gracious solution came to mind.
In the end, however, considering the source, considering the person lives far away, and considering that even the best explanation was unlikely to change the correspondent’s mind, I chose to reject the invitation to argue.
The heat of the accusations bore evidence of an entrenched and narrower-than-necessary worldview. Nothing I could say would likely change this person’s mind. As much as I want everyone to like me, and as much as I want to live at peace with everyone, I truly doubt peace with this person is possible.
As far as I can tell, we two have never met, and yet this person feels comfortable enough with me to blister my britches. It is hard to build a relationship with someone who refuses to start on common ground.
We do not have to attend every argument to which we are invited. Sometimes we need to respond like those penguins in the movie Madagascar: “Smile and wave, boys. Smile and wave.”
Some people cannot or will not be convinced or corrected. Move on to kinder souls and more open minds.
One of my favorite questions asks, “If you were wrong, would you want to know?” This is a good question to ask earnest individuals. However, I have asked it only to be told rather forcefully, “I’m not wrong!” It is impossible to discuss anything fruitfully if one side’s theme song is I Shall Not Be Moved.
We can hold our peace like today’s proverb encourages. We can look for whiter fields and more receptive correspondents. We can also take ultra-hard-headed individuals to our Father in heaven and seek his highest and best for them. He loves them as much as he loves us. His ways of bringing them to the truth are better than ours.
Of course, it is also good to double-check our own motives and intentions. Is there anything lacking? Is there anything we need to correct? Is there anything we need to confess to God?
Sometimes it is better to hold back than to engage. Methinks this is one of those times.
I will quietly hold back from this invitation to argue.
Our Father, please minister your grace and peace to my correspondent. Speak truth and grace to that life. Heal the hurts that lead this person to hurt others. Renew and redirect this person. Amen.
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Genesis 26:26-31 Meanwhile, Abimelek had come to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his personal adviser and Phicol the commander of his forces. 27 Isaac asked them, “Why have you come to me, since you were hostile to me and sent me away?”
28 They answered, “We saw clearly that the LORD was with you; so we said, ‘There ought to be a sworn agreement between us’—between us and you. Let us make a treaty with you 29 that you will do us no harm, just as we did not harm you but always treated you well and sent you away peacefully. And now you are blessed by the LORD.”
30 Isaac then made a feast for them, and they ate and drank. 31 Early the next morning the men swore an oath to each other. Then Isaac sent them on their way, and they went away peacefully.
Genesis 22:13, 14 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.
Genesis 21:1-3 Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. 2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 3 Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him.
Genesis 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless.
Genesis 6:9 This is the account of Noah and his family.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.