As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire,
so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife.
It is the quarreling spirit that kindles the fire. Tempers flare guaranteeing that trouble, not peace or understanding, will be the result.
“All I said was…”
“I don’t know why he should be so bothered…”
“All I wanted to know was…”
These are the words of the person supposedly baffled as to why others are taking offense. He considers superficially his words, but not his tone of voice, his facial expressions, and whatever other signals that he is giving about his anger.
“I was caught off guard.”
“I was upset at the time.”
“I didn’t know he would take it that way.”
“If you knew what he had said to me.”
These are the superficial excuses of the offender. And they are the excuses that reveal his heart. For he does not grieve over the mischief and harm he has caused, but rather over the grief he is receiving.
And so the years go on without him ever learning, continually stirring the pot, and wondering why everybody else overreacts to him. Meanwhile, others leave the ministry he is engaged in or the small group he attends; meanwhile, peace in the church is troubled because of the things he has said and the division over what to do about him. So is the sad and mischievous life of the quarrelsome person. Watch your own heart. It is easier than one thinks to fall into such a pattern through disappointments and bitterness. Being quarrelsome is easy to do; it is the simple matter of letting one’s guard down. It is being a person of peace that requires diligence, that requires attention to the peace of God given in Christ. The error of the quarrelsome person is that he is attentive to his perceived offenses rather than to the grace of God.
Lord, hear my prayer,
listen to my cry for mercy;
in your faithfulness and righteousness
come to my relief.
2 Do not bring your servant into judgment,
for no one living is righteous before you.
3 The enemy pursues me,
he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in the darkness
like those long dead.
4 So my spirit grows faint within me;
my heart within me is dismayed.
5 I remember the days of long ago;
I meditate on all your works
and consider what your hands have done.
6 I spread out my hands to you;
I thirst for you like a parched land.[a]
7 Answer me quickly, Lord;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, Lord,
for I hide myself in you.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
lead me on level ground.
11 For your name’s sake, Lord, preserve my life;
in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies;
destroy all my foes,
for I am your servant.