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Seeking Wisdom, Day 17 – Peacemakers and Troublemakers

February 27, 2016

The instructions in Proverbs to make my life better are written in parallel couplets or pairs. The statements are usually joined by a conjunction, a part of speech easily recognized: and, but, or, for, nor preceded by a comma, or eliminated by a semi-colon. When I see and, I know the pairs will reinforce each other, but when I see but I know there will be a contrast or an opposing viewpoint. Sometimes the word but  before the second sentence will completely negate the first sentence. Funny how that works.

Consider for a moment what Solomon says about peacemakers and troublemakers in Proverbs 17 and beyond. Notice when the second statement emphasizes or contrasts with the first; it’s all in the conjunctions.

(Proverbs 17: 4) “Wrongdoers eagerly listen to gossip, and liars pay close attention to gossip.” Gossip is used by troublemakers. The conjunction emphasizes the trait.

(Proverbs 17: 5) “Those who mock the poor insult their Maker; (and) those who rejoice at the misfortune of others will be punished.” Mocking the poor and enjoying others’ misfortune are employed by troublemakers. The punctuation emphasizes the trait.

(Proverbs 17: 9) “Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates friends.” Forgiving the faults of others is contrasted to keeping the faults in your heart. Forgiveness is a trait of the peacemaker.

(Proverbs 17: 22) “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a problem spirit saps a person’s strength.” The peacemaker is happy, but the troublemaker is pathetic – see the contrast?

Finally, (Proverbs 17: 28) closes with another emphasis on  the trait of keeping one’s mouth shut, “Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut they seem intelligent.” Outspoken fools are troublemakers.

Go with God today in peace and wisdom.

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