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Posts Tagged ‘contention’

Happy New Year to all of you, and now back to wrapping up Proverbs!

verses 20-21: “For lack of wood the fire goes out, And where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down. Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, So is a contentious man to kindle strife.”

I first heard of Conrad Dobler as a child. A little research on Wikipedia, and I discovered what a storied career this NFL defensive player had. However, it wasn’t of Conrad Dobler the football player that I first heard of him…it was of Conrad Dobler, professional troublemaker. Apparently, Dobler had a reputation in his career for dirty play. He capitalized on that reputation in a TV advertisement for a certain beer as part of its “fun bunch”.

The plot would have Dobler sit himself down in the middle of a cheering football crowd, talking about the beer product he was hawking. He’d turn to Fan A on his right and get him to agree that the beer did “taste great”. He’d then to turn to Fan B on his left and get him to agree that the beer was “less filling”. Turning back to Fan A, he’d say, “Are you going to take that from him?” Fan A, indignant, would again repeat his stance; Fan B countered with his stance. The next thing you know, the stands of people are arguing with each other. Dobler would smile at the camera, duck out of the crowd, and exit. His job was done.

That’s what contentious troublemakers do…they stir up trouble. The devil loves to do that; after all, he is behind it. He can still cause trouble for Christians by getting us to bicker among ourselves over trifles. By arguing like that, we’re wasting energy and attention that we could be using to do God’s work. As you go about life on the dawn of this new year, remember to ask Jesus to help you know what is worth arguing about. Keep your mind in the game!

Have a blessed day in the Lord!

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verse 9: “It is better to live in a corner of a roof, Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.”
verse 19: “It is better to live in a desert land, Than with a contentious and vexing woman.”

Both these verses comment along similar lines, so I decided to address them together.

When I would watch some TV programs as a small child in the 1970’s, I was confused by a scene I would occasionally see. It’s the scene of the working father in the family; he would stop by the neighborhood bar for a few drinks on his way home from work. I always wondered why the dad on TV was not in a hurry to get home after leaving work. My father would come straight home after work, unless he had to pick up something at the hardware store. (I should note my father is not a drinker either.) I just didn’t understand.

As I got older, I would see or hear of married friends talk about when they got home from work and tackle issues of strife or argument the minute they walked in the door. I even occasionally experienced times like that in my own family; after a hard day at work, I walked in to hear from my wife about frustrating issues that needed dealing with. (I remember on occasion saying, “Can I get a “Hi dear, how are you?” first?” and smile.) Now, I’m not talking about fighting; we just both had hard days, stuff to take care of, and we both collided trying to take care of things when both were already tired. Now, we were not like those TV families. In retrospect, though, I began to wonder if that’s why that TV dad would stop off before going home.

Our homes should be a refuge from the noisy chaos of the outside world; sometimes it’s not. As Christians, we need to work hard to ensure that our family and our home are refuges from contentious squabbling that seems to intrude from the outside world. I once spoke with my father when work stresses had gotten me down; he surprised me by asking how things were at home. He later explained that, “if your home is taken care of, then you can take care of work and everything else.”

If you have a chance (and access to the words), read the lyrics of the old hymn God Give Us Christian Homes. May that be your prayer to God today!

Have a blessed day in Him.

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