Hate starts quarrels,
but love covers every wrong. (Proverbs 10:12 GW)
(Context—Proverbs 10:1-12 GW)
The book of Proverbs begins with personalized encouragements, admonitions, and instruction from a father to a son. The first 9 chapters also include parables that contrast wisdom with foolishness in general.
But starting in Chapter 10, various topics are addressed more specifically—mostly with contrasting couplets and comparisons. Proverbs 10:12 is a great example of contrasting statements very relevant to our present time. Here it is in another version—
Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs. (Prov 10:12 NIV)
Hatred is defined in various ways—extreme dislike, disgust, ill will, resentment, prejudiced hostility, animosity—you get the idea.
Hate is often expressed by finding fault or projecting blame or making false accusations. Sound familiar? There's way too much of that going around! Regardless of its motivation or source—it stirs up strife...conflict...quarrels...even war.
Hatred doesn't have to run too deep to accomplish this. Think of the many times "I hate you!" is hurled by one person at another. It's pretty common among siblings in childish fits of anger and all too common between spouses. Sadly, I know this from experience.
But love is a powerful antidote for hate!
We have historical examples of love "covering" hate—Martin Luther King Jr, Mahatma Gandhi, and of course, Jesus who said this as He's crucified—Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).
But examples are only valuable to us if we learn from them and follow what they model. These couplets of wisdom are intended to be useful and practical for daily life. How can we apply this bit of practical wisdom?
The next time someone throws some flaming words your way or tries to start an argument—extend kindness and conciliatory words. Don't answer with a bitter barb of your own—extend forgiveness and grace.
It will take some practice but it could change the world—at least your own sphere of it. Who knows, if enough of us keep extending love for hate, the world just might change much faster than you or I can imagine—one opportunity at a time, one relationship at a time.
When someone throws flaming words your way or tries to start an argument—extend kindness and conciliatory words—don't answer with a bitter barb of your own—extend forgiveness and grace.
Prayer is much needed to extend love for hate in the process of daily life, so ask for God's help often—even throughout the day. The Lord is an expert at extending grace and mercy and love to people who don't deserve it—people like you and me.
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