“The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out” (v14). The proverbs teach that we can choose our response to conflict, and therefore we can influence the outcome. For example, we can choose not to repeat stories that will cause harm, but instead protect relationships by “covering an offense” (v9). We can restrain our words and control explosive emotions (v27), so that the problem of the moment doesn’t escalate. Finally, we can “love at all times” (v17), even when we don’t understand one another.
When we “set our faces toward wisdom” (v24), choosing self-control and kindness, we reap the benefits of deep, rewarding, lasting relationships.