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Lesson 7: Dealing with Fights *

Introduction: There are many reasons that the Internet is wonderful. One is that it makes it easy to be in contact with many friends and acquaintances. With greater contact, however, comes the serious problem of the lack of civility. People feel free to say negative things through the Internet that they would never, if they had any refinement, say to your face. Most of us have a "filter" that we use to refrain from saying the things we are thinking - things which would be harmful to others. Have you met people who seem to be lacking a filter? People who seem to thrive on fights and drama - especially face-to-face? Most of us want to improve our "filter," so lets dive into our study of the Bible and obtain the wisdom to do that!

  1. Fights


    1. Read Proverbs 17:14. Have you ever seen pictures of a dam breaking? Does it look like a controlled process? (No! Things look (and are) out of control.)


      1. Why is starting a quarrel like that? (The extent of the problem and the damage caused are hard to control.)


      2. Aside from the loss of the dam, what other problems arise from the failure of a dam? (People and property downstream are injured.)


        1. Is a quarrel like that? (Yes, other people get pulled into the quarrel. Sometimes people outside the original dispute are damaged by the fight.)


      3. What advice does the Bible give us about avoiding fights? (Drop the matter quickly.)


    2. Read Proverbs 18:19. Once you have gotten into a fight and caused offense, how hard is it to fix the damage you have done? (The offended one throws up great walls between the two of you. It will be very difficult to breach those walls. Thus, the best thing is to avoid creating offense in the first place.)


    3. Read Proverbs 17:19. Do you know someone who likes to quarrel? What does the Bible call that kind of attitude? (Sin.)


      1. When I first read the last half of this verse, I immediately thought this was a reference to people who are aloof. People who create barriers between themselves and others "invite" destruction. Do you think that is what is meant here?


      2. Why would anyone "love" a quarrel? (Aside from having a personality disorder, it would seem to be someone who loves debate. It would be similar to a strong man who likes to get in fights with others so he can show off his strength. The one who likes to quarrel thinks he is smart and cunning.)


        1. Would a person like that "invite" destruction? (Setting yourself up as the best makes you a target, a "high gate.")


    4. Read Proverbs 17:1. How valuable is peace and quiet? How important is it to avoid fighting? (It is even better than having a party!)


      1. My understanding is that most marriages break up because of disputes over money. Does that suggest that most homes have both the "dry crust" and strife? (That, of course, would be bad. However, I think the Bible's point is that leading a peaceful life, even if you don't have a lot of things, is pleasant.)


    5. Read Proverbs 17:9. What is one way in which we can promote peace at work and at home? (We don't need to point out every error those around us make. Quietly fixing the problem will make the person making the error like you all the more.)


      1. Read Proverbs 17:10. Is quietly fixing the problem inconsistent with the idea of a rebuke? (No. You can both rebuke the discerning, and quietly fix the problem.)


        1. What if you are dealing with a fool? (Since the fool will not easily learn, it seems to be a waste of time to quietly fix the problem for a fool.)


    6. Read Proverbs 17:13. We were just discussing someone who tries to fix problems. What about a person who tries to create problems? What kind of life should that person expect? (Evil will never leave his house.)


    7. Read Proverbs 17:17. What should we do when we find someone in trouble? (If we show love, if we try to help, then we are a "friend" and "brother.")


    8. Read Proverbs 17:22. What preventative measures can we take against trouble? (Being cheerful makes those around you more cheerful. Being unhappy has a negative effect on you and those around you.)


    9. Read Proverbs 18:21. If you agree, explain why you think the tongue has the power of life and death?


      1. Notice the phrase "those who love it." Love what? (I think it means "those who love the power of the tongue.")


      2. What does it mean to "love" the power of the tongue? (We just reviewed a series of Proverbs which taught us to avoid getting into fights. If we "love" what the tongue can do, we are students of its power. That means we study these Proverbs, and use our tongues to avoid fights and creating offense. Instead, we use the tongue to create love and peace.)


  2. Deep Water


    1. Read Proverbs 18:4. When you think of "deep water" what comes to mind? (Danger. Mystery.)


      1. Read Proverbs 20:5 and Psalms 69:2. What do these texts suggest is the meaning of "deep water?" (Complex. Life-threatening.)


      2. How, then, are a person's words like "deep waters?" (We are not always sure what they mean. Sometimes a person's words are more complex than they seem.)


      3. What is positive about a bubbling brook? (It is not deep, not complex, but rather is refreshing.)


        1. What does this suggest about understanding the wisdom of the Proverbs? (The points being made are not that complex. People may be complex, but God's instructions are not.)


    2. Read Proverbs 18:8. What else goes "deep?" (Gossip.)


      1. What does it mean that the "choice morsels" of a gossip go to the "inmost parts?" (Two things. You remember them. Whether you are the person hearing the gossip, or the person who is the victim of gossip, the damage lasts.)


    3. Read Proverbs 18:2 and Proverbs 18:6-7. Can you fix being foolish? (If it were not possible, I assume we would not have a warning about it. The fool's first step should be to listen more in an attempt to understand, and to talk less. If you do that, you can avoid all sorts of trouble.)


  3. Clarity on Money


    1. Read Proverbs 18:9. How much of a problem is laziness? Should society tolerate laziness much less reward it? (If being lazy is similar to destroying property, then it should be penalized, not rewarded.)


      1. We have spoken before about being kind. What would be a kind approach to curing laziness?


    2. Read Proverbs 18:10-11. Is having money like living inside a walled city? (Yes. Money protects you from all sorts of problems.)


      1. Is money an unscalable wall? (No. The protection is imperfect.)


      2. What is an unscalable wall? (Trusting in God. He is a strong tower to which we can run and be safe.)


      3. Are the wealthy more likely to be Godly? Several of the Proverbs teach that wisdom brings money. But, this text is a warning. The rich falsely think their money will protect them, but only God is a sure protection. Don't turn away from God by trusting in money.)


    3. Read Proverbs 18:16. Is the Bible endorsing bribes?


      1. Is there a lesson on evangelism here? (Instead of telling your neighbor about how he needs to better obey God, you should first show him kindness. Helping someone out is a great way to be allowed into that person's heart.)


    4. Read Proverbs 18:22. What other kind of wealth can we enjoy? (A good spouse!)


    5. Friend, since the tongue has so much power, why not determine today that you will become a student of its best use?


  4. Next week: Words of Wisdom.
* Copr. 2015, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2017 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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