The proverbs are full of sins of commission—sins we commit by our outward actions. Don’t use foolish words. Don’t speak before listening. Don’t cause strife. The book is full of advice on what choices lead us down the best course of action.
However, when I examine my life, my tendency is often a track record of inaction. I was convicted by a verse in Proverbs 18 that speaks to a sin of omission:
Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire;
he breaks out against all sound judgment.
I recently took a personality test that categorized me as a person from the “Peace Country.” One of my highest motivations is for peace. I want to get along with people and I want people to get along with me. I don’t like the pot stirred and I don’t like conflict. The test said, when fights between others break out, peace-people run and hide wait until the conflict is over. Then, they side with who ever won.
If others are fighting or if I’m in a conflict myself, my first tendency is to isolate myself. I don’t want to deal with the problem. The issue is, when I choose to avoid a conflict what I am communicating to the other person is that I don’t care about the issue and subsequently, them. My own tranquility trumps the relationship.
I suppose the underlying fear is rejection. I’m afraid if I say what’s on my mind, engage in the conflict, and speak truth I may offend the other person and they will reject me.
The same Proverb offers a solution to my problem,
“A man of too many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
Jesus, when I am tempted to isolate myself, run and hide, remind me that you are near and that your love never fails. Thanks for being the ultimate example of Truth and Love.