Proverbs 17:14

The beginning of strife is like letting out water,
so quit before the quarrel breaks out.

When a container of water cracks, when it is opened only by a hair, water seeps out and cannot be retrieved. Cover it with your hands, put a cloth tightly around it, the water continues to seep. It cannot be contained. And even if you do seal the crack, you cannot reclaim the water. It flows into every crevice nearby. Such is the problem when a pipe leaks. You may find water damage in one place a wall, a ceiling, the floor only to discover that the leak is elsewhere because the water flows to wherever there is least resistance.

So it is with strife. Once it is let out, it travels wherever it can, in different directions wherever there is least resistance. It stains the clean surfaces of the room. It cannot be put back in its container as though it had not spilled out. Wipe the surface dry, patch and paint the stains and cracks; nevertheless, the damage was made and memories keep the strife in storage. There is less trust now, less fellowship. Like undersurface damage that is never restored, so damage in the minds and souls of fellow believers and of neighbors and of family members remain through the years.

And that is assuming effort is made to deal with the strife. More likely, the crack widens into an opening and as water pours forth, so strife pours forth. Now I know where you really stand! Ive never trusted you and you have proven why! Then the charges multiply and opportunity for recrimination are looked for.

And where all this is likely to happen is in the church amongst the fellowship of the followers of Christ. So quit before the quarrel breaks out!Whatever damage you think will occur because you hold your tongue, consider the damage that will occur when you speak in strife. And if you must speak up, consider what you will say and how you will say it before you speak. Consider how you will help your fellow believer with your words. Consider if that really is your motive. For once the crack is made, the water of strife will come forth.

© 2020 Tenth Presbyterian Church.

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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By D. Marion Clark. © 2020 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org