The Wisdom of Backing Down

Michael Beck

“There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going: A lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any; A greyhound; an he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up. If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast thought evil, lay thine hand upon thy mouth. Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife.” (Proverbs 30:29-33)

There are times when we become lifted up with agitation over something another has said or done. We are “steamed.” All that internal pressure has us wanting to move forward to do or say something we will later regret.

Right after speaking of four entities that lift themselves up, move forward, and do not back down, scripture warns us against doing the same. We are to be careful of the “forcing of wrath.” More often than not it is wise to back down, to let something be, to lay our hand on our mouth and say no more.

Are we always called to be a lion that devours our prey? Or a he goat that keeps butting one who contends with it? Or a king who will not tolerate any dissent? We do well to learn how to bridle our tongue. It starts with knowing how to rule our spirit.

“It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.” (Proverbs 20:3)

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.