Reflect on Proverbs 18:19 for a moment or two. As you look at the three translations below, it is easy to see that each version conveys the same idea. To separate oneself from another by thought, words and/or actions makes for a difficulty that must be addressed.
The KJV read, A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle. The ESV reads, A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle. The NET reads, A relative offended is harder to reach than a strong city, and disputes are like the barred gates of a fortified citadel.
What does the word “offended” mean? We are not to understand the word to mean “What she said offended me!” Instead, what is in view is something much different. One Hebrew scholar used the word “wounded” in this context. A wounded person is one who had been attacked. Another scholar gave this sense, “The proverb is talking about changing a friend into an enemy by abuse” (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary-Revised).
If two are “in the Lord,” for what substantive reason would there be separation between the two? Is sin involved? If so, has this sinful act gone unresolved? Is it more desirous to perpetuate division? Something needs to be addressed.
For good reasons, on this Memorial Day weekend, we honor those who served our Country. We reflect on those who gave up their lives to perpetuate the idea of Liberty and Freedom. If you served in the United States Armed Forces, a memorial such as this weekend resonates with you in a special way. Of course, one does not have to (or did not have to) serve to understand the value of the memorial day reflection, but those who served understand it in a special way.
Those who are Christian also understand something in a special way; they have chosen to serve the Lord in faith because, if they know anything at all, in the battle of life with sin, they have lost. Jesus, on the other hand, our significant Armed Force, took the battle on Himself and overcame what not even one person could do. “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10, KJV).
Each Sunday we reflect on the Liberty and Freedom the Lord gave us in that which He did, having gone to the Cross of Calvary to take on Himself our (my) sins (2 Cor. 5:21). Those sins were (and are) far more damaging than one might realize. When one is guilty of sins, there exists a separation between the guilty one and God. God can’t be in the presence of sin. The only avenue to bridge the gap between God and the individual person is the Lord Jesus (John 14:6). Without Him, that is, without living a transformed life, a life that reflects the glory of God, the gap is not bridged (Romans 12:1-2; 1 Peter 1:13-16). One might say that, then, Jesus pulled up the landing spot for the one who refused to live as the Lord demands.
Tying this back in with Proverbs 18:19, with this understanding, is there separation between you and another? Why would one who is in Christ not want to love his brother (sister) the way the Lord chose to love us (me)? Is there separation between you and the Lord? These are matters that need addressing. RT