“He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the Lord shall be made fat” (Proverbs 28:25).
Read this verse to your children and you may get some snickers! Who wants to be made fat? The answer to that question: a person who is hungry. The man who puts his confidence in God won’t be hungry anymore. He will be satisfied. Other translations of this verse say that he will prosper, that he will be enriched and blessed.
But the proud, self-centered man is always hungry. His thoughts and actions revolve around himself. He craves attention. He looks every direction and sees the glory, privileges, abilities, and possessions that he does not have, and believes that he is not getting what he deserves. Because he is never satisfied, he stirs up quarrels wherever he goes.
Do you have any quarrels in your home? This verse contrasts the proud heart that stirs up strife, with the man who puts his trust in God and prospers. Pride is usually at the root of household strife.
When the contentious child learns to trust God, he will quit striving for his “rights.” Matthew Henry, in his commentary on this proverb, says that he who “lives in a continual dependence upon God and his grace: he who puts his trust in the Lord, who, instead of struggling for himself, commits his cause to God, shall be made fat.”
The child who stirs up strife needs instruction.
With the Holy Spirit’s help, we can work to restore peace in our homes by encouraging our children to put their trust in a just and loving heavenly Father who knows what is best for them.
Help your children learn to trust God. Let them see you trusting Him. Study His character and actions in the stories of the Bible. How powerful is He? How wise is He? Can we trust Him? What happens when we trust ourselves instead? Help him understand that he will never be truly satisfied until he puts his confidence in God. When he trusts God, he will be able to rest in the fact that God has given him all that he needs. He will not need to strive with others.
When quarrels erupt, ask pointed questions:
- What are you wanting that God could not give you if He knew it was good for you?
- What do you want so much in this situation that you are willing to sin in order to get it?
- Are you trusting God, or are you trusting yourself?
- Are you treating others the way God has commanded, or do you think your circumstances excuse you from obeying Him?
- What does God say you should do in this situation? Does He know what is best for you?
- Are you willing to do what is right, and trust God with the results?
Help him understand that God is in control, and that he can trust Him. Discipline him for any unkind words or actions. Train him to “put off” pride and self-centeredness and to “put on” kindness. Pray with him and send him back into the situation to make peace.
He should ask forgiveness of those he has wronged. Then, because he trusts God, he can obey Him by treating others the way he would want to be treated. He can focus on making others happy. He can cheerfully share his belongings, speak words of love and encouragement, and serve the other person instead seeking to serve himself and his own desires.
He can live peaceably, knowing that he can trust God to do and provide what is best for him. He doesn’t have to fight for it anymore.