Being Contentious – a mark of a fool

TUESDAY

There are several marks of a fool or, as we learned yesterday, one who is morally deficient. The foundational principle of foolishness is atheism but our study this week will not be exhaustive of foolishness. This leaves room for your personal study and an opportunity for me to return in the future to the subject.

A second characteristic of a fool is one who is contentious.

NAU Proverbs 18:6 A fool’s lips bring strife, And his mouth calls for blows.

NIV Proverbs 18:6 A fool’s lips bring him strife, and his mouth invites a beating.

NKJ Proverbs 18:6 A fool’s lips enter into contention, And his mouth calls for blows.

What does it mean to be contentious? It is one who is quarrelsome, who likes to fight. A contentious person is one who causes strife. It is the opposite of one who strives to promote or maintain peace. The picture being painted in this proverb is one who sees a problem and exacerbates the problem by joining verbally into the fray either as one lacking the foresight to see the outcome or as one who intends to make it even worse than it is. The implied warning is to stay away from a person like this because, as it says in the proverb, this person is looking for a fight and the language indicates it may end up being fatal!

And, if we are such a person, we should think twice and walk away from a tense situation without speaking. If we are self-controlled (a fruit of the Spirit), the alternative to walking away is to think twice and then ONLY speak as a peacemaker rather than an exacerbater.

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