“It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife.” Proverbs 20:3 NIV
“A person who always has to be right will live a lonely and unhappy life.”
My thoughts and comments today are about “quarrels.”
Did you ever watch a couple of preschoolers quarrel? Not a very pretty sight. They are stubborn and resolute. Both want their way with no thought of there being a better way. They both think they are right and the other is wrong, or they don’t even care who is right or wrong. They just want what they want. Shouldn’t we grow out of that kind of self-centeredness? Children will be children, but adults should be adults. “It’s like this: when I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child does. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13:11 NLT. Quarrels are childish things.
Many disagreements are little more than a difference of opinion or objective. If the same person requires being deferred to in every discussion or decision, then their relationship is mere pretense. It is unrealistic to think that everyone will have the same opinion as you all the time, or that you will agree with everyone else every time. What do you do? Solomon gave wise advice: “It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife.” Proverbs 20:3 NIV. Avoid strife! Before reacting, filter your feelings and process your thoughts. Look inside yourself for a possible solution.
At those moments, your initial response is extremely important to what follows. Remember; always, the goal is to resolve differences not escalate them into a quarrel. Here’s God’s way; “Show your love by being tolerant with one another. Do your best to preserve the unity which the Spirit gives by means of the peace that binds you together.” Ephesians 4:1-3 TEV.
On a practical side, the issue is not usually about who is right or wrong; ordinarily, both are a bit of each. Instead, your mutual objective should be to find common ground for some measure of agreement that allows everyone involved to move forward together. When disagreement is obvious, choose not to be disagreeable or become personal. At those rare times that no solution can be found that satisfies all concerned, agree to disagree and be gracious in your respect. Sometimes life requires willingness to compromise to achieve a common good. Not every difference has to be resolved your way in order for the universe to be at rest.
There are times in marriages, friendships, churches, and business, when a relationship may be more important than the disagreement. The person who always has to be right will soon live a very lonely and unhappy life. The need to be right every time is not a sign of brilliant superiority; it is more an indicator of immaturity and/or self-importance. Is the quarrel more important to you or the friend? You might win the quarrel but lose the friend. Read James 3:13-18 NIV.
Keep your words pleasant and respectful just in case you have to eat them later. Perfection from yourself or another is not a realistic expectation. If you keep that in mind, you will be more tolerant when a friend holds an opinion other than yours. The Bible’s counsel of “In honor, preferring one another” comes to mind as a relational guideline on such occasions. Romans 12:10 NKJV.
“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it.” James 4:1-2 NKJV. Let’s face it; getting your own way every time is not particularly healthy and doesn’t exactly prepare you for cooperative relationships. Your parents may have allowed you the illusion, or your spouse may defer for the sake of peace, but you will need people in your life with the responsibility to speak truthfully into your life when you most need that, and even when you may least want it. That’s what a good and Godly friend does.
My prayer for you today is that you would prefer to be righteous above just being right.