Knowing that rubies are considered to be beautiful precious stones, I have often given a lot of consideration to the value of wisdom. The book of proverbs is full of wise sayings that address a multitude of themes that are useful and applicable for daily life lessons.
Some of these themes include management of money, living in harmony with neighbours, finding justice in the courts, staying out of trouble, avoiding sexual immorality and keeping a good work ethic. Although Proverbs was written around the 10th century BC, it raises relevant themes which can be applied today.
One strong theme woven throughout Proverbs is the issue of how we conduct ourselves with one another. I have found Proverbs particularly valuable to refer to for help when dealing with conflict.
For example, have you ever found yourself on the receiving end of a hot tempered person? Isn't it too easy sometimes to lose your own temper and enter a fiery discussion? Yet there is value and wisdom in being patient, so as not to stir up dissension but to calm a quarrel (Proverbs 15:18).
Similarly, in the heat of an argument when words overflow, how often do we say things that we later regret? There is wisdom in curbing our words and holding our tongue (Proverbs 10:19).
For many of us, dealing with conflict is often fraught with many emotions. Some of us avoid facing conflict in the hope that it will go away while others charge right in without a moment's thought. Feelings of insecurity are raised in some while feelings of anger well up in others.
Conflict shapes our relationships with others, either for the good or bad. We may face conflict in our home, workplace or neighbourhood . Sometimes conflict creeps up in trying moments like dealing with other commuters or waiting in long queues.
There seems to be a strong message portrayed in Proverbs about speaking truthfully about a matter and where necessary giving an open rebuke. Equally, there is an emphasis on the need to avoid speaking rashly and keeping words to a minimum. This kind of teaching is relevant to all of us when dealing with conflict resolution. So many relationships deteriorate all too quickly when conflict isn't resolved.
The bible offers great strategies for learning to manage conflict by communicating effectively. When caught up in quarrels and arguments remember that "reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" (Proverbs 12:18).
It seems that common sense prevails in Proverbs and the beauty of wisdom cannot be compared with.