If you have been foolish in exalting yourself, or if you have devised evil, put your hand on your mouth. For as the churning of milk produces butter, and wringing the nose produces blood, so the forcing of wrath produces strife. (Proverbs 30:32-33)
Troublemakers Take Heed
Strife is as old as the world. Sin introduced the emotions of anger, hatred, wrath, discord, and conflict. Cain killed his brother Abel because Cain had an evil heart and lashed out at Abel with malice. God punished Cain for his transgression as a means to show the consequences of the rash acts of strife and the penalty for sin. Wisdom declares two similes that when milk is churned and tossed, butter is the result. Secondly, if a man takes hold of another man’s nose and twists it in anger, blood will come out, and the man will react violently. What happens next is the consequence of attacking the other person. There are consequences to actions. When milk is tossed about and beaten, a good thing comes forth, but if anger strikes out at another man, there will be no good consequence.
The admonition of the proverb is to warn that whatever a man sows, he will reap. Playing the fool will bring about a host of reactions by those who are not amused by the antics of the initiator. Pride brings about strife. Being stupid will result in others reacting to the folly of the misguided. Speaking without thinking opens the door to insults, cursing, hatred, and then – bodily harm. Unchecked anger comes from uncontrolled emotions. It is best to cover the mouth and thought a fool than to open the mouth and remove all doubt. If a man insists on making trouble, he could receive the worst end of the bargain and get punched in the nose.
Stirring up anger produces strife and quarrels. One of the characteristics of quarreling is the inability of those participating in the foolish endeavor to keep their mouths shut and their minds open. When the volume of the voice elevates, mental acuity shrinks. Pride is the engine that runs the mouth to keep on spouting out words of foolishness, and the more that is said, the higher the emotional temperature of the mind until a breaking point is reached, and conflict ensues. There are many dangers present with an uncontrolled spirit is not reigned in and controlled. Many lives have been lost because of foolish strife and friendships broken with unguarded words.
God created man to be an emotional creature. The apostle Paul wrote that anger is not a sin but the unbridled anger that leads to destruction. Jesus was angry on occasions but never sinned. Unresolved anger leads to strife and discord. The people of God are governed by principles that keep strife in check. James acknowledged the need to be swift to hear and slow to speak, suggesting a divine purpose in having two ears and one mouth. Troublemakers must heed their actions and not be surprised when strife comes. Christians are not troublemakers but peacemakers. The child of God controls his mouth and puts his hand over his mouth if need be. Let strife be left to churning milk into butter. That’s a good kind of churning but learn the lesson from the butter.