We learn from Proverbs that it is an honor for a man to cease from strife (Prov. 20:3). This is one of many examples in Scripture that show how the wisdom of God is 180 degrees out from the wisdom of man. In how many fruitless quarrels have participants refused to back down from the strife because they are too proud to do so? In other words, they believe that honor dictates that they remain in the strife, and that to bow out of it would constitute dishonor. But the Bible teaches us the very reverse of this. To cease from strife is an honor, and consequently should be honored by us.
Of course, proverbs are general truths and we should not absolutize them. We are grateful that Athanasius did not bow out of the stife created by Arius, and that Paul was a godly apostle who stood up to the vacillations of Peter. At the same time, what we need to do with this scriptural teaching is apply it where God intended for it to be applied. In how many marital quarrels between a Christian husband and wife are we dealing with an Athanasius/Arius situation? Not very many.
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