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14 The beginning of strife is like releasing water; 
Therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts. 

 Proverbs has such great practical wisdom. This verse gives us practical counsel as to how to stop strife and contention. Stop it before it starts.   

The start of strife is like letting water out of a dam. Once it starts to flow out, it's very hard to stop. So don't let it out.   

Now, this is great wisdom. But no one ever said it was easy. Especially if you have established a pattern of just speaking whatever comes to your mind. If that has been your modus operandi practicing this verse will be challenging. But rewarding. Strife and contention can wear down a relationship.   

Years later, James would tell us to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. (James 1:19) If we all practiced that, think how much better off we would be.   


Good news for those of us who have been quick with the lip. We can change. By God's grace and an increasing amount of spiritual maturity, we can stop arguments before they start.   

If we examine the wisdom behind this principle, it's rather sound. Stop before you start. This applies to all kinds of sin. We can stop wrong thought patterns before we become overwhelmed by them. Stop depression thinking before going down that path. We don't let a lie start; we stop it. We stop slanderous comments before they roll out of us.   

I believe there are many things we can stop and not yield to before they start. And one thing is for certain. We will feel better about ourselves if we follow this principle.   


Heavenly Father, help me stop things that are wrong before they start. Starting with my words. Help me practice the discipline of silence.