Arguments and confrontations. Life is a mind field of possible verbal spats and battles. These fights rarely end in anything other than hurt feelings and worsened conditions. The potential of being in an argument is constant. The military establishes a set of “Rules of Engagement” before a battle and so should we. The Book of Proverbs is packed with such guidelines we should all follow.
Acorrding to Wikipedia, “Rules of Engagement (ROE) are rules or directives to military forces (including individuals) that define the circumstances, conditions, degree, and manner in which force, or actions which might be construed as provocative, may be applied”. Wiki
Each battle has its own unique set of rules of engagement but carry a universal purpose and philosophy. Pocket cards are created for each soldier for quick reference and constant reminder. We’ve created our own pocket card for rules of engagement using Proverbs as our source.
Rule One: “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.” Proverbs 4:14-15
Simply avoid evil. You wouldn’t go over and pat a mad, rabid dog on the head so why would anyone willfully engage with the wicked and evil person? Usually we get enticed into a confrontation. We get insulted or our pride is somehow offended and we find ourselves in the midst of a heated argument without cause or purpose and even worse, without end or resolution. The only “victory” to be had is to be proven “right”. That’s no victory at all.
But notice how the Proverbs not only says to avoid and get out of the way of the evil man, but it also instructs us to not even pass by it. We are to turn around, do a 180 and go away from it.
If we do not heed this “rules of engagement” which is total non-engagement and we find ourselves locking horns with the adversary, then nothing but grief will result.
Rule Two: “If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest. Proverbs 29:9
The Bible often refers to a sinful and/or evil person as “foolish”. Although an accurate description, don’t limit your thinking to some silly person of no judgment, character or sense.
Just burn this forefront in the mind, “There is no rest contending with a fool”. Arguing or joking, it doesn’t matter; there is NO rest!
Rule Three: “Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly.” Proverbs 17:12
Expanding on the prior, “no rest” warning, here we find out that it is better to fight with a mamma bear who has had her cubs stolen away than to engage with a fool and his unrighteous ways. Yes this is an allegory, an analogy but the weight of the statement must be considered none the less. If you wouldn’t fight with a bear then don’t consider fighting with a fool.
Foolish/sinful/contentious people don’t necessarily where a sign around their neck stating who they are. So how can we determine who we are dealing with? Here’s one way:
Rule Four: “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.” Proverbs 29:11
A fool doesn’t give you a piece of his mind, he gives you all of it. Why?
“A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.” Proverbs 18:2
This is why it is pointless to contend with a fool. He doesn’t want to know or learn or even resolve a problem. A fool wants to hear himself and express himself. Often times winning the verbal battle means nothing to a fool. A fool seeks a target that will stand still long enough in which to unload on. Who needs that kind of grief?
Rule Five: “The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.” Proverbs 19:11
Let it go. Let the evil person go. Let the issue go. Let the anger go. Evil and anger will fester and grow if you retain it. It is a seed planted in the fertile soil of a righteous person. Evil feeds on good. Like a cancer evil will grow and consume until it kills the host. Do not engage a fool. His seeds of grief can kill.
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