Go not forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbour hath put thee to shame.
Slow down! Haste makes waste. And haste can put you to shame. If you are in a conflict, do not react hastily. Do not rush to action. Calm down; sit down; slow down. Consider every angle carefully, or you will miss the obvious and be put to shame by your enemy.
Conflict and strife are parts of life in a sinful world. They evoke strong passions, which cause men to rush to action. People in a fight want to rectify a situation immediately, but such haste in a conflict easily leave men exposed to the wiser reaction of an opponent. The human heart and its demand for haste must be ruled and stopped (Pr 16:32).
A passionate response is usually a poor response. It is better to let passions cool before planning any action. The mind is usually not fully engaged, when the heart is pounding and the emotions are raging. Cool off first, before you do anything or even plan anything. “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (Jas 1:19-20).
A multitude of counselors makes for safety in war (Pr 20:18; 24:6). What blessed wisdom! And they cannot be any counselors; they must be wise, experienced, and sober. They should be uninvolved third parties, who can think objectively and wisely. They should have experience in battle, and they do not need to be close friends. Friendship blinds eyes and stops ears, so seek counselors who will not be inflamed with you.
Unless you are very careful, small conflicts will escalate quickly into much larger wars (Pr 17:14). Responding foolishly without due deliberation is the mark of a fool, and such a reaction usually deserves punishment (Pr 18:6). Forcing wrath will bring forth more strife, just as surely as the churning of milk brings forth butter (Pr 30:33). Slow down.
Kings go to battle slowly. Jesus said, “Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace” (Luke 14:31-32).
If you have ever slept on a conflict, with a mind toward fearing God and loving wisdom, you woke in the morning with a very different perspective than what you went to bed with. This is wisdom. By allowing some time to pass, your passions cooled, your mind had time to clear foolish emotions, and the Holy Spirit could direct you.
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