Striving without Cause
Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.
1. A clear command is given in this passage NOT to strive.
a. Strive: complain; quarrel; contend; argue; strife either physically or with words.
b. Strife ought NOT characterize the life of a believer. “The servant of the Lord must not strive.”
2. We ARE called to certain kinds of strife and contending:
a. We are to contend for the faith… (Jude 3)
b. We are to strive together in prayer (Rom.15:30)
c. But that is not the kind of strife Solomon refers to here.
3. Solomon is speaking about a kind of strife that we should AVOID like the plague.
a. This kind of strife is the work of the flesh. (Gal.5:20)
b. This kind of strife is an evidence of carnality. (I Cor.3:3)
c. This kind of strife is demonic! (James 3:14-16)
4. The reason for the command: Some folks seem to gravitate toward strife. (Prov.25:8)
a. Some folks seem to have to stick their noses in every dispute or argument or disagreement among the believers.
b. Some folks seem to be able to stir up strife when there is no strife. They can manufacture it!
c. Solomon warns us NOT to haste toward stirring up strife.
• He gives an interesting reason—because while strife can be stirred up easily, it is often difficult to end it!
• It is like starting a forest fire. One little match is all it takes, but it could end up requiring fire fighters from many states to come to put it out!
• Spiritually, starting strife is just as damaging and dangerous as starting a fire. Many people can be hurt. Much damage can be done… damage you never intended to do!
• It’s like throwing a rock in a pond. It’s easy to throw the rock, but difficult if not impossible to stop the ripples!
• Prov.17:14 – it is like the letting out of water (from a dam). It may start off as a trickle, but it can soon escalate into an uncontrollable flood!
• Therefore, don’t meddle with it! Leave it alone! Stay away!
d. Thus, Solomon warns not to be hasty about jumping into an argument! You don’t always know what you are getting into! You may not have an easy way to escape!
• Like US involvement in many hot spots around the globe.
• It is relatively easy to send troops into one of those hot spots. But it is not always easy to END the dispute and bring the troops home!
• Once our troops are involved, we discover how dangerous and sticky the problem really is. Once you commit troops, it’s hard to un-commit them!
• Some troops remain in the hot spot for years to follow…
e. Solomon’s warning to us is similar. Don’t be so quick to jump into the fray!
• Don’t be so quick to stick your nose in someone else’s problems!
f. “When thy neighbour hath put thee to shame.”
• Sometimes we jump into a dispute, and discover that we jumped in on the wrong side!
• We might hear one side of the story and assume that we are fighting for the right, only to discover later that we were dead wrong! Our neighbor comes with the rest of the story and we are put to shame!
1. Strife should be avoided. But especially strife “without cause.”
2. Without cause refers to strife that is not necessary.
a. Folks always insist that they have a “cause” for their fight.
b. Sometimes we create strife over someone’s oversight. We make mountains out of molehills.
c. But is that cause WORTHY of disrupting the peace? Is it worthy of breaking fellowship? Is it worthy of tarnishing the testimony of the Lord? Is it worthy of damaging the local church? Is it worthy of destroying friendships? Is it really worth all that heartache?
d. In the heat of the argument, many would declare that they were RIGHT… and therefore it IS worth fighting over.
e. BUT — later on, as time goes by and as we look back at the event, very often we might be forced to admit that it was really NOT worthy fighting over! There really was not a just cause for that fight.
3. Very often all it takes is to apply the salve of God’s Word—OBEY these principles and discover how causeless our cause becomes!
a. Suffer yourself to be defrauded… (I Cor.6:7)
b. In lowliness of mind, forbear one another in love…
c. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
d. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven us…
e. Be kindly affectioned one to another in brotherly love, in honor preferring one another…
f. Not rendering evil for evil, but contrariwise, blessing…
g. Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace…
h. Let love cover a multitude of sins…
i. Turn the other cheek…
j. Applying any one of those principles will usually cause the strife to cease! It is when we REFUSE to incorporate those principles that the strife continues… and drags on and on…
4. Instead, we feel that we have a just CAUSE for the strife to continue!
a. Some folks seem to be on a crusade to make their point… and to prove that they are right… and that they have just cause to continue the strife…
b. If that is our nature, we will ALWAYS find some cause of strife!
c. Prov.16:27-28 – if you want a reason to fight, you can always dig one up!
• Note that the evil is buried. Everyone wants it to stay buried.
• But the ungodly person digs it up! The ungodly man is not content until every piece of dirty laundry is dug up and displayed!
• The ungodly man then SOWS strife—like planting seeds. (Planting thoughts in people’s mind… to sway them to his or her side in the fight…)
• This kind of strife promoted by ungodly men results in separating chief friends!
d. Prov.17:9 – love is willing to bury a transgression. A person who demonstrates the love of God is going to demonstrate Christlikeness… willing to turn the other cheek… bury dirt… and get on with life!
e. Prov.10:12 – a person driven by hatred is unwilling to bury the offence. A person driven by love IS willing to bury it.
f. Prov.15:18 – A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.
g. Prov.26:21 – As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.
• A contentious person will keep a fight going and going and going… like the energizer bunny.
• It is the SPIRIT of contention that keeps it going. It is like adding coals to a fire. God wants this kind of fire to burn out… and usually they will… stop adding fuel to the fire!
• Bury the fuel and the fire will go out by itself.
• God wants us to be peacemakers—driven by love—not driven by hatred and a contentious spirit!
• Prov. 22:10 – Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.
• If nobody is there to keep strife going, it will die out…
• If no fuel is added to the fire, it will burn out…
• I Pet.4: 8 – this is the kind of love God wants US to demonstrate in the local church.
If he have done thee no harm…
1. The warning in this verse is for us NOT to get involved in strife—especially if it is none of our business.
2. If two people are fighting… because one has stepped on the toes of another, what is that to you?
a. What does the BIBLE say to do?
b. The offended party is to go to his brother ALONE. No one else is involved.
c. MOST offences can be easily resolved ALONE.
d. Once you add more people into the formula, it becomes much more sticky, difficult, entangled, and complicated… and harder to end.
e. Then more and more people jump in… sides begin to polarize, and before you know it, you have a BIG problem…
3. Prov.25:9 – The RIGHT way to settle a dispute is for two parties involved to go to each other privately.
a. Don’t involve other people in your debate. It doesn’t involve them.
b. All other parties are without cause in this argument!
c. The only one who has a CAUSE is the one offended… no one else has a cause, unless the church leaders need to be called. But that is rare.
4. If two people are having a dispute, stay away!
a. Prov.26:17 – don’t get involved—don’t meddle in strife that is not yours!
b. If you pick up a dog by the ears, you will get hurt… you will be bitten! Picking up a dog by the ears causes a lot of hurt and pain! So don’t do it!
c. If you see two people having a dispute, and you meddle in that strife—you will cause a lot of hurt and pain! So don’t do it!
d. If the person has done YOU no harm, stay out of the strife! You have no cause to step in!
e. If he has done YOU no harm… stay out of the debate… stay out of the strife… don’t complicate matters… don’t cause polarization… don’t add fuel to the fire.
5. Even in those situations where the party who was RIGHT seemed to get the raw end of the deal, let’s not forget God!
a. He knows everything. He knows all hearts, motives, and the intents of the heart.
b. He is keeping score—perfectly! He is unbiased and is no respecter of persons.
c. He is omniscient and a righteous Judge.
d. All parties will eventually have to give account of their actions to Him.
e. That is the judgment that really counts.
f. Every crooked thing will be made straight in that day. Justice will prevail.
g. In the meantime, as we live in an imperfect world, we are to follow the rule book left by the perfect judge:
• Don’t strive with men when it doesn’t concern you.
• Don’t promote hate and dig up dirt!
• Promote love and bury dirt!
• Bury the hatchet. Suffer yourself to be defrauded.
• Don’t add fuel to the fire to keep strife going…
• Be a peacemaker—and bury the fuel.
• Commit the situation to the Lord… who shall judge the living and the dead with RIGHTEOUS judgment!
• Rom.12:18 – in the meantime, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men!”
• Heb.12:14 – Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.
6. If we would simply OBEY these passages, we would be able to either prevent strife from occurring… or if it does occur, cause it to die out!
a. What happy families we would have in the home!
b. What glorious fellowship we would have in the local church!
c. Why, we might even get along with that cantankerous neighbor!