Proverbs 6:16-19 NRSV
There are six things that the Lord hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that hurry to run to evil,
a lying witness who testifies falsely,
and one who sows discord in a family.
It’s interesting that Solomon begins with “there are six things . . . seven . . .” Matthew Henry notes, of this beginning:
“and the last of them (which, being the seventh, seems especially to be intended, because he says they are six, yea, seven) is part of his character, that he sows discord.”
In other words, Solomon didn’t miscount, but rather, used this literary technique as a way to emphasize the last in the list: “one who sows discord in a family.”
For me, it comes down to motivation.
There are always going to be times when we disagree with those around us, with our spouses, with our children, with our family, and with those in the Christian family, the house of God. We cannot exist together without having disagreements. But what is the cause? Do we disagree because we are trying to bring a wandering one back into the fold? Or do we disagree because we want to be dominate, because we want our own opinion to prevail? The reason for disagreeing is very important.
Galatians 6:1 (NRSV): My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted.
Paul combines both the requirement (the command) of those within the Body to restore one in sin with the admonition to take care that the restorers are also not tempted. What would be that temptation? I believe it is the temptation to restore based on wrong motives. Our concern for restoration should be based in love, not in a desire to be right or superior . . . for we all are sinners.
Discord in a family.
There is much wrong within the Christian Church today. Perhaps there was always much wrong. (I hope not.) But we need to be careful of our motivations for righting the wrongs. Are we doing so in an effort to simply see each (including ourselves) come to the mercy of God? Or are we doing so because we want to be recognized, to be noticed, to be seen as the one who was right, even (God forbid) to be seen as “savior?”
James 1:19 (NRSV) gives us good advice: You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.
Quick to listen. Slow to speak.
S. D. Gordon, a great prayer warrior, once said: “You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray before you have prayed.”
If we are truly serious about not sowing discord within the family, perhaps we should spend more time praying, more time listening, and a lot less time speaking . . .