ODJ: Winning Wars

November 18, 2016 

READ: Proverbs 12:1-15 

Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others (v.15).

Yesterday, someone wrote and asked me to help with a large event she’s overseeing. Time constraints made it easy for me to reply, “Sorry, but I’m unavailable.” Later, as I thought about my response, I realized it wasn’t just my tight schedule holding me back; it was also my discomfort with the way she sometimes speaks of others. Hearing from her caused me to replay hurtful things she’s said over the years. More than merely saying “no,” a part of me wanted to revisit past wrongs.

Self-righteous motives can lead to foolish actions (Proverbs 12:15). It’s therefore wise to listen to godly advice (vv.6,14)— something, thankfully, that I did. I contacted a friend and (without mentioning names) told her of my dilemma and the hurt I was holding on to. My friend replied, “It’s important for you to remember that your co-worker apologized and that you forgave her. Now, you need to live out this forgiveness. It doesn’t mean you need to help with the event, but it does mean you need to refrain from bringing up the past. Move forward by displaying kindness and grace instead.”

Whether through words or actual combat, Scripture exhorts us, “Don’t go to war without wise guidance; victory depends on having many advisers” (24:6). My wise friend kept me from contributing to conflict by improper use of words. She guided me to victory through good counsel.

“A wise man will hear and increase learning” (1:5 nkjv). This includes learning how to cultivate relationships and properly address conflicts with other believers in Jesus (Matthew 18:15-17). Rather than surrounding ourselves with people who advise us to engage in battles with others, let’s pursue those who will help us succeed relationally to God’s honor!

—Roxanne Robbins

365-day plan: Acts 28:1-14

Read Proverbs 15:22 and think about who might be one of the “many advisers” to give you godly advice today. 
How has God equipped others to help you make wise decisions? What’s the difference between healthy conflict and unhealthy relationship wars?