"The beginning of strife is like letting out water,
so quit before the quarrel breaks out."
I have had the blessing of watching my grandchildren as they are growing up. They teach me much about love, about play, about work, and about strife. Among them I have seen two kinds of strife, and we will compare them to verse 14 of Proverbs 17.
One kind I have seen is like a flood that produces so much water that the dam just breaks apart and releases destruction all around. Sometimes just one word of discord will cause the children to angrily attack one another with a flood of strife. Interestingly enough, a quick word of caution or a swift discipline will often calm the storm.
Then there is the slow leak. A little jab here, a comment made that is ignored, a look of disdain toward a sister, a refusal to share. Slowly a hairline crack begins to break down the system that holds the water of contention in. The crack gets bigger and bigger until the dam breaks
and the flow of strife becomes insurmountable. I believe this is a
much worse scenario. Without intervention they will drown
in their bitterness toward one another.
What I have seen in my grandchildren applies to us all. In fact, we grown-ups probably showed them how to do just what they do through our own "letting out [of] water".
Remember, more is caught than taught!
Let's be like the little boy in Hans Christian Andersen's story who held his finger in the dike until someone was able to repair it.
Or, even better, let's "quit before the quarrel breaks out."
As we strive to be examples of loving, peaceful co-existence,