Reading the Word
“Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, ‘I am only joking!‘” (Proverbs 26:18–19, ESV)
Understanding and Applying the Word
Today’s passage deals with causing quarrels with others. When we say inflammatory things or deceitful things to someone, we can expect a strong reaction. It is no good to say “Just kidding!” afterwards, as doing so will likely only infuriate the other person even more. It is like throwing firebrands or “arrows and death” (i.e. deadly arrows). It is throwing gasoline on an open flame. We should expect a large and out of control fire.
It is never good to go looking for a fight. As Christians, we should do all we can to live at peace with others, even those we disagree with. We do not have to hide who we are, but neither do we need to look for opportunities to poke and prod. We need to live wisely and it is the madman who causes quarrels.
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