Stepping Back

It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling.
—Proverbs 20:3

The Proverbs in Scripture are like excellent spiritual beef jerky. You take small bites and you chew on them for a long time. Meditating on Proverbs is life-training in the most practical ways. For example: Proverbs 20:3 says “It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling.” Honor here is that which is weighty or substantive: integrity; character; worthy of respect. 

Do you want respect? Good. It is an honor, or it is worthy of respect, for a man to keep aloof. The word aloof here is the Hebrew wordShabbat. It’s actually the root word from which we get our word Sabbath. Sabbath means to cease, to desist, to rest. “It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife . . . ” This means he will not join the fray; not when attacked, not even to defend himself. He will keep himself aloof. 

This does not mean aloof emotionally, but aloof from . . . Do you know what? “I’m not going to get into that. I’m going to step away from this argument.” You are doing your family a favor when you maintain a sense of perspective.

I taught this verse a few years ago at church. A week or two after the sermon, one couple came up to me all smiling and happy-faced. They told me they had really taken this to heart. Like a lot of couples, they admitted to certain habitual conflicts. And they laughingly said, “We had a fight this week!” The husband continued, “Yeah. We were arguing and I was trying too hard to make my point.” She added, “He was trying to goad me into the fight, but I remembered that verse you taught us in Proverbs. So I said to him, ‘I aloof you!’ It took a moment, but we both started laughing!” Talk about detouring an argument! Isn’t that great? “I aloof you!” It worked; they seemed so happy. 

There’s honor in standing aloof from meaningless strife. “We’re better than this. We have way bigger dreams than this. Let’s figure this out rather than fighting it out.” “It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling.”


·         What difference would this Proverb make in the way I currently handle conflict in my family?

·         How would I describe the signs of healthy versus unhealthy “aloofness”?


Thank You, Father, for the pithy wisdom of Proverbs. You’ve graciously given us so much to chew on! Help me to move beyond thinking about these matters to the point of faithfully applying them in my relationships. And give me wisdom in those moments when I usually step into a fight to make the decision to step back, out of honor for Your Word as well as putting honor into practice. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Always True: 5 Great and Precious Promises of God
Always True: 5 Great and Precious Promises of God 

5 CD Series Set - $35.00

What if you believed—truly believed with all confidence that God is with you? How would today go for you if you knew without a doubt that God is in control? What would be different in your life if you were sure God is watching and good? What would you risk if you were certain God is victorious? 

Just how would believing God’s promises change your life?  

Ask the greatest Christian you’ll ever meet if they hold on to God’s promises and they’ll all say yes. Believing that God will do what He promises leads to a great life. The greatest Christian you’ll every meet knows, treasures, and is resting in the promises of God. They cling to these assurances that God gives His people so they can walk by faith while they wait for Him to work.

So what exactly does God promise?  In this topical study of what will always be true, Pastor James MacDonald will explore five great and precious promises that God keeps. Enter into this study with anticipation and faith that the God who makes these promises is faithful and true... always true.