Scripture Reading: Amos 1:1-2:16 / Romans 2:17-3:8 / Proverbs 17:5-14
When I was younger, we lived by a large river that had a sizable levee. We used to walk to the top of it and look down at the water. When my parents were children, they lived in that same neighborhood and experienced some severe flooding of their homes. Little did I know the protection and security that levee gave all the local residents...they made sure it didn’t have any gapping holes and was a solid wall of protection.
Further down that same DesMoines River, a dam was built to slow down and control water flow. That dam protected many homes during the annual flood season. It was monitored by a security system and if that failed, certain destruction would ensue, as the river would flood many homes and acres.
Solomon uses the analogy of a dam when he writes, “Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.” (Prov.17:14) No one in my childhood community would ever consider damaging the levee or sabotaging the dam. They experienced destructive flooding and were not foolish enough to welcome another one.
The same should be said when we are tempted to “speak our mind” or instigate a confrontation. As a gap in a dam quickly becomes bigger from the force of the contained water; so will a quick and uncontrolled tongue start an out of control quarrel! Raging waters eventually take out large sections of a dam, leaving no hope of stopping the rapid flooding. The same with the tongue…it will pick and pick until it completely alienates relationships and destroys lives.
Acting upon inward strife and aggravation may give us temporary satisfaction but it will be short lived. It will be like trying to get a drink of water out of a fire hydrant…or trying to stand in the midst of torrent waters. We are never prepared for the aftermath of a quarrel…it becomes bigger than we would ever imagine. Think twice before you “speak your mind”. Better yet, take enough time to cool down and gain your composure…if you don’t, you will not have enough time to build an Ark for the destructive flood that will follow!