Proverbs 17:19 He loveth transgression that loveth strife: and he that exalteth his gate seeketh destruction.
Understanding man’s true nature makes today’s verse understandable and comprehensible. Ignoring the true reality of man’s constitution will lead the reader to refuse this Bible truth. Surely no man, woman, boy, or girl would love strife! Strife seems to be contrary to something we would deem lovable. After all, the Bible likens strife to the bars of a castle (Proverbs 18:19), creating a prison for some and an impossible barrier for others. It is birthed through pride (Proverbs 13:10) and harms those most innocent (Exodus 21:22-25). With these thoughts in mind, how could anyone love strife? The answer is quite simple. Man’s flesh desires to rebel against the laws of God. It finds pleasure in transgression and satisfaction in displeasing the Lord. So man, although aware of strife’s downfalls and pitfalls, craves strife and the resultant conflict.
∙ (For children): Even though King Herod was a Jew, he cared nothing for God’s laws. The wise men asked him, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?” Herod’s curiosity and pride caused him to “seek the young child to destroy him.” He chose to harm the innocent by slaying all male children two years old and under in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16).
∙ (For everyone): Do you enjoy seeing people argue? Do you enjoy participating in arguments? Do you seek to stop arguments even if it means you must swallow your pride in order to achieve a resolution?
∙ Would you ever admit that you love strife? Would you seek to stir it up once it seems to be dying out? Do you recognize this as sin and understand that you need to repent?
∙ Ask God to forgive you for loving strife.
∙ Ask God to convict you when you participate in strife.