I first heard these words spoken by an older, and far wiser man. I was in my lower twenties and I smirked, thanked him, and forgot all about it. But it was only a few years later I would be reminded of how powerful this advice was.
When the man approached me, red-faced, I knew he was troubled about something (I was blessed with pastoral insight from a very young age). He was upset about the music we were using in church and took it upon himself to tell me how sinful the music was we were using.
But I forgot: it takes two to show up to a fight.
I showed up and tried to tell him how he was wrong or at least, mistaken. He wasn’t convinced. Neither was I. But two showed up to a fight.
Oh how the words of Proverbs 20:3 come in really handy…
It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.
There’s really no denying the wisdom we’re given in Proverbs 20:3: don’t go showing up to fights. While that’s certainly not saying there aren’t some fights we need to fight and must show up for, it is saying only a fool rushes into it.
Yep, you read the Proverb correctly: “every fool is quick to quarrel.” Maybe that’s why wiser people have figured out that not every fight is worth showing up to. Notice, it’s not saying to never show up. The warning is to avoid the hot-headed, red-faced, vein-popping rush leading us into fruitless arguments.
It’s difficult sometimes. The other person who’s picking the fight may really be asking for it but self-control knows when to fight and when to walk away. After all, Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
That means sometimes we don’t show up to the fight.