“Be a Peace-Maker (Prov 6,16-19)”

by John Wijngaards, LAWS FOR LIFE Series in the New Leader, 7 October 1973; in Telugu Bharata Mithram, 31 August 1975

“Six things the Lord hates, Seven are an Abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood; a mind that plots mischievous schemes, feet that are quick to run after evil, a false witness who utters lies, and he who sows discord among brothers.” (Proverbs 6, 16-19)

As in many numerical sayings. the stress in this saying falls on tbe last point. The author speaks about those who sow discord. The saying is actually an application of the more general norm that no one is allowed to give false witness (Es 20, 16). What is true in court is also true in daily life. The false reports we give may kill another person.

Although seven characteristics are enumeratedin the saying, we should understand that they belong to one and the same kind of personality. The inspired author describes the person to us: His eyes are full of pride. His mind is plotting against others. He is ready to tell lies when it suits his purpose. His feet are quick to run after evil and his hands are prone to do harm to his neighbour. He is the false witness who ruins other persons by telling stories about them. What he achieves in the end is sowing discord among brothers. The author teils us that God dislikes such a person immensely, that he finds him an abomination.

‘Loose Talk’

We all may have met the kind of person that fits this description. He is a real plague to any community in which he may live. He seems to find delight and satisfaction in upsetting good relationships by reporting rumours and incidents he has picked up elsewhere. Often the reporting is inspired by feelings of jealousy and spite. What seems to be an innocent game of “loose talk” may in reality have all the characteristics of false witness and murder.

It is surprising how often we ourselves may fall into this fault without realizing it sufficiently. So many of our judgments of people are based on inaccurate knowledge. So much of our chitchat on our eompanions smacks off sensationalism. So many of the rumours we gleefully report are harmful to concord and peace. If we honestly analise our motives, it may be that we discover an ugly picture of ourselves. It is quite possible that some of our “loose talk” about others finds its origin in latent hostility or secretly nurtured jealousy. If we are not careful, we ourselves may well be on the way to becoming the kind of “sower of discord” so disliked by the Lord.

In the Gospel, Jesus. recommends just the opposite. He tells us ; “Blessed are the peacemakers. for they will be called God’s children.” God has proved himself the peacemaker in the highest sense of the word. Through Jesus, God made peace with all things on earth or in heaven (Col 1, 20). It belongs to God’s nature to be merciful and make peace. Therefore; whoever makes peace in this world is truly a child of God.

When we speak about other persons we should be humble and truthful. We should be aware of the harm that can come from our unguarded remarks. We should stress those things that will build up good and charitable relationships, and be very prudent with whatever may cause sorrow or disharmony, We must use the gift of speaking for the sake of charity and other people’s welfare. Then it is with a very special meaning that we can say “peace be to this house” (Mt. 10, 12) whenever we enter a home. The sower of discord finds his archetype in the devil. The peactmaker knows he is a child of God.