Proverbs 25:8, 9
Go not forth hastily to strive, lest you know not what to do in the end thereof, when your neighbor has put you to shame.…
We look at -
I. THE INEVITABLENESS OF DISPUTES. It is quite impossible that, with our present complication of interests - individual, domestic, social, civic, national - differences and difficulties should not arise amongst us. There must be a conflict of opinion, a clash of wishes and purposes, the divergence which may issue in dissension. What reason would teach us to anticipate experience shows us to exist.
II. THE TEMPTATION OF THE HASTY. This is to enter at once upon strife; to "carry it to the court," to "enter an action," to make a serious charge; or (in the case of a community) to take such hostile action as threatens, if it does not end in, war. The folly of this procedure is seen in the considerations:
1. That it interposes an insurmountable barrier between ourselves and our neighbours; we shall never again live in perfect amity with the man with whom we have thus strives; we are sowing seeds of bitterness and discord which wilt bear fruit all our days.
2. That we are likely enough to be discomfited and ashamed.
(1) Those who judge "hastily" are usually in the wrong,
(2) No man is a wise and good judge in his own cause; to every man that which makes for himself seems stronger, and that which makes for his opponent seems weaker, than it appears to a disinterested observer.
(3) Whether a case will prosper or not at law depends on several uncertainties; and even if we have a righteous cause we may be entirely defeated - a brilliant advocate against us will easily "make the worse appear the better cause."
(4) The issue may be such that we shall be impoverished and ashamed. And that which will aggravate our misery will be that we have so foolishly neglected -
III. THE WAY OF THE WISE. To go at once to the offender and to state our complaint to him. This is in every way right and wise.
1. It is the way of manliness and honour. To talk to a third person about it is more easy and pleasant "to the flesh," but it is not the straightforward and manly course.
2. It is the way that is becoming. It is not the fitting thing to disclose our secrets to another; personal and domestic and ecclesiastical contentious are hidden by the wise and the worthy rather than made known to the world.
3. It is the way of peace; for, in the majority of cases, a very little explanation or a very simple apology at the beginning will set everything right.
4. It is the distinctly Christian way (Matthew 5:25, 26; Matthew 18:15). - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Go not forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbour hath put thee to shame.