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What Are They?
Webster’s dictionary defines antonyms as words with opposite meanings. Numerous examples can be found in everyday living. Hot and cold, rough and smooth, black and white, and fast and slow are but a few examples. The Scriptures also contain antonyms such as righteous and unrighteous, believer and unbeliever, and point and counterpoint.
    Have you every found yourself in a tense situation and feel all stressed out? Then someone comes along and calms the situation. Tense situations can be snuffed out. The Scriptures tell us how it can be done.
Strife And Accord
Webster defines strife as bitter or sometimes violent conflict or dissension, or to exert or to strive for superiority. There are three Hebrew words which are roots of words translated strive (Strong’s numbers 7378, 1777 and 4683). These words generally mean to wrangle, to grapple, to hold a controversy, to judge, to strive and to quarrel. There are four Greek words translated strife (Strong’s numbers 485, 2052, 2054 and 5379). The meanings of these words include contradiction, gainsaying, strife, contention, variance, dispute, and quarrel. It is easy to see that anyone who commits such actions would dictate that strife is an attribute of the unrighteous.
    Webster also defines accord as to bring into agreement or to fit harmoniously. There is one Hebrew word translated accord (Strong’s number 6310, from primitive root number 6284). Its basic meaning is to use the mouth to puff or blow away – scatter into corners. The two Greek words fit better as antonym to strife. Their meanings are co-spirited, similar in sentiment (Strong’s number 4861) and unanimously, as with one mind (Strong’s number 3661). Such actions would indicate that being in accord is an attribute of the righteous.
Causes Of Strife
The Old Testament gives us a long list of characteristics of a person who cause strife by their actions. This list includes hatred, wrath, rage, transgression, seeker of destruction, arrogance, pride, contention, greed, anger, ridicule, slander and heavy drinking.
    We must take a look at each of these in order to learn what the Scriptures say about them and how we, who profess to follow Yahweh, can avoid exhibiting those negative characteristics.
“Hatred stirreth up strifes,” Prov. 10:12a. Here the word hatred is a translation of the Hebrew sinah (Strong’s number 8135, from the primitive root number 8130, sane). Together they read to hate someone as if an enemy.
    In Gen. 21:9-14 we read of Ishmael, Abraham’s son by the bondwoman Hagar, mocking. Sarah overheard him and asked Abraham to have Hagar and Ishmael sent away. Abraham does this grievous act because Yahweh told him to send them away, verse 12.
    This act is also referred to in Gal. 4:29,
    But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuteth him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.
    In Gal. 5:20 we read that hatred is one of the works of the flesh. The Greek word used is echthra, meaning to show hostility, enmity or hatred. By nature “the carnal mind is enmity against Yahweh,” Romans 8:7.
Countering Hatred
We have read that showing hatred is a characteristic of the carnal mind. So how should one react to such a feeling exhibited by someone else? Prov. 10:12b tells us how: “But love covereth all sins.” Showing love is an action opposite to that of showing hatred.
    An example of showing love, where hatred might have been the natural response, is in the story of Joseph. Joseph was sold into Egyptian bondage by his brothers. When there was famine in the land of Canaan his brothers made a few trips to Egypt for food over the span of time. Even on the second trip the brothers still did not recognize Joseph. When Joseph finally told his brothers who he was he showed love and not hatred as we read in Gen. 45:5,
    Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for Yahweh did send me before you to preserve life.
    Joseph followed Prov. 19: 11,
    The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.
    By Prov. 19:11 we can understand that there is much wisdom (discretion) not to retaliate hatred with similar feelings. By I Cor. 13:4 we read “Charity (love) suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.”
Wrath Or Rage
A wrathful man stirreth up strife,” Prov. 15:18a. Wrathful is a translation of the Hebrew chema, Strong’s number 2534. It has a variety of meanings, all negative. Among them are anger, poison, hot displeasure, furious and indignation.
    An example of anger is the story of why Cain slew Abel found in Gen. 4:3-8, “And in the process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto Yahweh. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And Yahweh had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And Yahweh said unto Cain, ‘ Why art thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen? If thou does well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.’ And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against his brother, and slew him.
    Another example can be found in the New Testament, Matt. 18:23-35. This is a story of a king who forgave one of his servants a large debt. But, when a debtor to this servant could not pay his debt to the servant, this servant cast the debtor into prison until the debt was paid. When the king found out the story of what happened is found in verses 32-34,
    Then his master, after that he had called him, said unto him, “O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pit on thee?” And his master was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
    By these examples it can be said that when a person shows wrath bad things can happen. Sometimes the end result is what happens to a person who mistreats another while other times it is a bad action taken by the one who shows wrath.
Countering Wrath
Most definitely, the showing of wrath is a characteristic of the unrighteous; it is listed as a work of the flesh, Gal. 5:20. So what can one do if such a feeling is felt? Prov. 15:18b tells us what should be done:
    But he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.
    A characteristic of the righteous would most definitely be not
to let anger or wrath get the best of us and not allow it to come to fruition. The word appeaseth is a translation of the Hebrew shaqat , Strong’s number 8252, which means to be at rest or quiet.
    Slow to anger means longsuffering. II Cor. 6 tells us that as the servants of Yahweh we must be slow to anger (longsuffering), verses 4 and 6. Longsuffering is listed as a fruit of the Spirit, Gal. 5:22. Paul tells the people of Ephesus to be “worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering…” (Eph. 4:1 and 2) He tells the people of Colossea the same thing in Col. 1:10 and 11. Paul writes to Timothy in II Tim. 3:10 that it was his lifestyle to be “longsuffering.” Paul also tells Timothy to proclaim Yahweh’s Word, in season and out of season, with longsuffering, II Tim. 4:2.
    Yes, most assuredly, it is much better to be slow to anger, to be longsuffering. This is pointed out in Prov. 16:32a, “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty.” This same thought is repeated in Prov. 14:29, “He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding (discernment).”
A transgression is defined as an infringement or violation of the law. When one transgresses Yahweh’s law one commits sin.
    Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law
, I John 3:4.
    Prov. 17:19a tells us that one who loves to cause strife loves to transgress (rebel or revolt) against lawful authority. Sin is an aftermath of anyone who loves to cause strife.
    That they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of Yahweh, Gal. 5:21.
Countering Transgressions
How can one counter the act of transgressing Yahweh’s law? With the carnal mind that man has that is not possible. We need the help of Yahweh’s Spirit to indwell in us so that His Spirit will lead us down that straight and narrow path which leads to everlasting life. It is not possible for us, by ourselves, to defeat satan. We must rely on the promises written in His Word. If we follow in the footsteps of Yahshua then we will be able to tell satan, as Yahshua did: “get thee behind me satan,” Matt. 16:23, Mark 8:33 and Luke 4:8.
Webster defines contention as an act or instance of contending. Webster further defines the verb to contend as striving in debate or to argue. A synonym for contention is discord. Putting them together it is easy to see that a person who is contentious loves to argue and cause discord through such actions.
    The Scriptures, in Prov. 26:21, says “As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.” Contentious is a translation of the Hebrew madown (Strong’s number 4066) and means quarrelsome, brawling, contentious, discord or strife.
    The Scriptures are very clear as to how a contentious person is viewed:
    "But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteous, indignation, and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile,” Rom. 2:8 and 9.
    Titus 3:9 is also very clear in that we are to
    Avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.
    A froward man is one who is habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition (loves to argue, debate). Prov. 16:28 says that such a person sows strife:
    A froward man soweth (sendeth forth) strife.
    A contentious person does not belong in the body of the Messiah. I Cor. 11:16 verifies this:
    But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no custom, neither the assemblies of Yahweh.
    One should easily see that contention is an attribute of the unrighteous.
Countering Contention
It is possible that each of us at some time in our lives have met a person who loves to argue. Sometimes it seems they argue just for the sake of arguing. But what can be done when one is confronted by such a person? The Scriptures are quite clear.
    Prov. 17:14 gives us the answer to the above question: “The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: Therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.”
    The following is from the Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary on this verse:
    The first half of this verse is explained “as when, in a dam or mound raised to oppose a flood or the sea, there is ever so small an aperture, the water passing through is sure to make it larger and larger, until with one mighty volume of water the whole embankment is swept.”
    The second half of this verse is explained “leave off, instead of eagerly discussing most minute offences, and devising means of retaliation, with a pertinacious determination to conquer. ‘It is easier to abstain from a contest than to withdraw from it’ (Seneca). Oppose beginnings. ‘The mother of mischief is no bigger than a midge’s wing.’ Strife is compared to the two most merciless elements, fire and water.”
    While wood is fuel for a fire, removing the wood will cause the fire to go out.
    Where no wood is there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth, Prov. 26:20.
    What we read here is that one must not argue with a contentious person because the argument will only gather greater volume, much to the satisfaction of the contentious person and to the dismay of the other person.
He that is of a greedy spirit stirreth up strife,” Prov. 28:25a RV. The KJV says “proud heart.” Webster defines proud as displaying excessive selfesteem. A synonym for proud is arrogant. Prov. 29:23a tells us what will happened to a person with pride: “A man’s pride shall bring him low.” Examples of this are Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:5,6) along with the fallen angels (2 Pet. 2:4).
    Prov. 15:27a tells us “He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house.” This verse is self-explanatory in that a house ruled by a greedy or arrogant person will have problems.
Eph. 4:17-19 tells us of the greediness of the unrighteous:
    This I say therefore, and testify in the Messiah, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of Yahweh through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
    My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: for their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives. So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof, Prov. 1:15-19.
    It should now be easy to follow what a greedy person can cause and that uncleanness and lasciviousness are listed as works of the flesh in Gal. 5:19.
Countering Greed
The Scriptures are very clear as to what one must do relative to greed. It can be found in Prov. 1:15 and in context reads “My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path.”
Anger follows a pattern similar to that of wrath and rage. Specifically, Prov. 29:22 says “An angry man stirreth up strife.” Strife is a translation of the Hebrew ‘aph (Strong’s number 639) can also be translated ire. Whatever can be said for wrath and rage can also be repeated here, along with Prov. 14:17a, “He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly.”
Countering Anger
Does anyone really like to be around someone who exhibits wrath, rage or anger? No. The Scriptures reverberates this. “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul,” Prov. 22:24-25.
Conquering Strife
Gen. 13 tells of the story of Abram and Lot leaving Egypt and traveling toward Jordan. When they reach Jordan a controversy (strife) came between the herdsmen of Abram and the herdsman of Lot. It seems that the land could not support the two of them, along with their substance (cattle), for each was rich in cattle. Did they go to war to see who got what land? No. Abram had Lot choose either the land to the east or the land to the west. Whichever land Lot chose Abram went the other direction.
    And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between thee and me , and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we are brethren, Gen 13:8.
    Abram exemplifies Prov. 20:3a,
    It is an honour for a man to cease from strife.
    Strife destroys peace and happiness amongst friends and family members. Its unpleasant and repelling effect on other persons is repeatedly highlighted in the book of Proverbs:
    A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping, Prov. 19:13.
On this verse Jamieson, Fausset and Brown’s commentary says “A man cannot excape his wife, however contentious she may be. ‘Continual’ (literally pushing) means one drop pushing on another continually. How much need, therefore, marrying men have to use care and prayer in the choice of a good wife.” This is because Prov. 19:14b says “a prudent wife is from Yahweh.”
    A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike, Prov. 27:15.
    It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a brawling woman in a wide house, Prov. 21:9.
    It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman, Prov. 21:19.
    It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house, Prov. 25:24.
Strife and accord is a pair of antonyms. One is said to produce controversy and the other harmony. The Scriptures are more than clear that one must not cause any stressful situation nor let strife be one of our characteristics.
    Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying, Romans 13:13.
    If we ever find ourselves in a situation that could cause strife, one must step back and consider the situation. There is no disgrace to walk away from a heated situation. “It is an honour for a man to cease fromstrife,” Prov. 20:3. James 3:14-16 is clear as to what might happen if one does not walk away from such situations,
    But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
    Again, Prov. 15:18b is quite clear as to what one can do to alleviate stress,
    But he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.
    To appease means to cause to subside, to pacify or conciliate.
-Elder Roger G. Meyer

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