Proverbs 3:30 (The Nonaggression Principle)

  • By Pastor Chad Wagner
  • on Wednesday, November 3, 2021
If you like this blog, then you will like Get Wisdom, Get Understanding which is Pastor Wagner's commentary series on the book of Proverbs which is available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle. Find out more here. For all the blogs in this series, click here: Proverbs Commentary. Proverbs 3:30 "Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm." (Pro 3:30)
This verse is the Bible's version of the nonaggression principle, which is the rule which states that no man should initiate violence against another. In other words, we should never be the ones who "started it." Christians should make every effort to be at peace with their neighbors, as it is written, "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men" (Rom 12:18). We should not be busybodies who insert ourselves into a confrontation that doesn't concern us.

Pro 26:17 - He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears. 1Pe 4:15 - But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.

We should make sure to have a good cause before we begin to strive with someone, or we will be brought to shame.

Pro 25:8 - Go not forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbour hath put thee to shame.

It is honorable to cease from strife, not to commence it.

Pro 20:3 - It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.

Defending oneself is allowable, but aggressing against someone else is not. This is true of individuals and nations alike. Inter-national conduct should (at least sometimes) be governed by the same Biblical principles as inter-personal conduct. In the case of inter-national conduct, nations are peers of each other, not authorities and subordinates, so therefore one nation does not have the right to punish another nation, except in self-defense. Nations are comprised of individuals, and in the Bible they are sometimes even referred to as individuals, such as the nations of Israel and Edom who were referred to as their "founding fathers", Jacob and Esau, in the passages which follow (notice all of the singular words such as: I, me, my, thy, thee, thou, he, him).

Gen 25:23 - And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger. Num 20:14-22 - And Moses sent messengers from Kadesh unto the king of Edom, Thus saith thy brother Israel, Thou knowest all the travail that hath befallen us . . . Let us pass, I pray thee, through thy country . . . And Edom said unto him, Thou shalt not pass by me, lest I come out against thee with the sword. And the children of Israel said unto him, We will go by the high way: and if I and my cattle drink of thy water, then I will pay for it: I will only, without doing any thing else, go through on my feet. And he said, Thou shalt not go through. And Edom came out against him with much people, and with a strong hand. Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his border: wherefore Israel turned away from him. And the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, journeyed from Kadesh, and came unto mount Hor.

Jesus used an example of how a nation would count the cost when deciding to go to war with another nation to illustrate how an individual should count the cost when deciding to follow Him (Luk 14:31-33). The following points apply to individuals as well as nations (as will be shown later based on what God said to Babylon). Mind your own business. There is an old saying in the army: "stay in your own lane." As was mentioned earlier, people should not meddle with strife belonging not to them (Pro 26:17), nor should they be busybodies in other men's matters (1Pe 4:15). People resent others when they get in the middle of their fights, as did the Israelites toward Moses, despite his good intentions (Exo 2:13-14). Obey the Golden Rule, which can be summed up by Jesus' words, "As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise" (Luk 6:31), and "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Mat 22:39). In other words, treat others as you would want them to treat you, and don't murder people who have not attacked you. Apparently the people in the "Bible belt" in South Carolina forgot this most fundamental Christian teaching when they booed Ron Paul in a presidential debate for saying that the US ought to adopt the Golden Rule in foreign policy. Act only in self-defense; don't initiate violence. The apostle Peter had a right to self-defense, which is evident from the fact that Jesus told him and the other disciples that, "he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one" (Luk 22:36); but Peter did not have the right to initiate violence. Jesus had told Peter that He (Jesus) would be killed by the Jewish leaders, and He even rebuked him for refusing to believe it (Mat 16:21-23). Jesus had prayed for God's will to be done, saying, "O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done" (Mat 26:42). Peter therefore stepped over the line when he initiated violence when he, "having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear" (Joh 18:10). Jesus rebuked him for it, saying, "Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword" (Mat 26:52). The ancient empire of Babylon is an example of a nation which was judged for her imperialism by God through the prophet Habakkuk (Hab 2:5-13). Consider and take note of the following things concerning Babylon. First of all, Babylon (the Chaldeans) was referred to as a man.

Hab 1:6 - For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs. Hab 2:5 - Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people:

Secondly, they didn't keep at home. It was said of Bablyon that, "he is a proud man, neither keepeth at home" (Hab 2:5). They could not be satisfied and had to continue conquering nations and people. It is written that Babylon, "enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people" (Hab 2:5). As Solomon declared in Pro 27:20, "Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied." Thirdly, they were thieves who took what was not theirs: "Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his!" (Hab 2:6). Wars have always been about acquiring land, treasure, and resources. There is nothing new under the sun, but nations today try to make it less obvious through their mouthpieces in the media. And lastly, the Babylonians killed people in large numbers: "Thou hast consulted shame to thy house by cutting off many people, and hast sinned against thy soul" (Hab 2:10). In other words, Babylon had a similar foreign policy as the United States does; and just as they were judged for it, so shall the US be. No government has the right to make its citizens kill other people who didn't attack them. No Christian would murder their next door neighbor who did nothing to him if the government told him to do so. Therefore, a Christian can and should resist any order by a government to kill a person in a different country who has not first attacked him. If a man's government put him in such a position, either against his will or by lying to him and deceiving him through propaganda, then they have the greater sin. God has mercy on His children when they do things in ignorance (Luk 12:48). If a man was put in a position by his government wherein he had to take another man's life in combat in a war of aggression, he should remember that at that moment he was acting in self-defense to preserve his own life.
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