In four verses in Proverbs, we find the expression, “stirreth up strife”. Strife is agitation, contention, opposition, or quarrel in your relationship with someone else.
Whenever you find strife in any relationship, you should look for the underlying cause. You can have strife in your marriage, in your family, among your siblings, among your coworkers, with your employer or employees, with your neighbors, and with literally anybody.
It may very well be that you are the one who is stirring up strife. Let’s look at the verses and see what we can learn.
Prov 10:12 hatred stirreth up strifes. You are probably not going to admit that you hate someone. You might say that you don’t like them, but you would be loathe to admit that you hate them. As Christians we are prone to hide hatred with lying lips, Prov 10:18. If you are striving with someone, check your heart. God knows that you may, indeed, hate them and that when you start to love them, the strife will go out. Love covereth all sins.
Prov 15:18 wrath stirreth up strife. Solomon said, “A wrathful man stirreth up strife”. According to Prov 27:4 wrath is cruel. When you are cruel you are disposed to give pain to others. Wrath is savage, hardhearted, and ferocious. The idea is that when you are wrathful, you’re going to make sure the other person hurts. Cool it. Wrath is coming from you, and you alone. It’s not the other person’s fault and you are not justified in your wrath. It’s your wrath that is stirring the pot of strife. Put it away.
Prov 29:22 anger stirreth up strife. Solomon said, “An angry man stirreth up strife”. Anger is a violent passion of the mind. I feel it in my reins. It’s like a volcano waiting to blow. In a split second, the lava can come pouring out of the top. Anger, unlike wrath, is not necessarily intended to hurt the other person. It is just a release of all that pressure that has been seething inside of you. Then figure out where your anger is coming from and get it out of you. Again, your anger is not another person’s fault. You choose to react with anger and you’re stirring up the strife.
Prov 28:25 pride stirreth up strife. This strife comes from a person with a proud heart. You might be thinking that you dodged responsibility for the strife in your relationships because you are not hateful, angry, or wrathful. But now you realize that your pride is what’s agitating your relationships. Solomon said, “only by pride cometh contention”, Prov 13:10. You don’t have to win. You can admit when you’re wrong. “I’m sorry” are two of the most important words in a good relationship. If your pride has stirred up the strife, own it, apologize, and humble yourself.
Conclusion: When you find strife in any relationship you have, check these four things, honestly before God. When you find that one or more of these are in you, correct yourself. You will see the strife go out.