(Proverbs 26:21 KJV) As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.
Notice that if the “burning coals” (embers NASB) (1513) were not already hot the “coals” (charcoal NASB) (6352) would have remained inert. It struck me today that this is also a Proverb for those of us who are “innocent” victims of the “contentious” (4066). It is kind of like an adaption of “It takes two to tango.”
Sure the person making your life difficult is causing problems but it is much easier to stir flames that are already present than to start something from cold kindling. I examine how I respond. Two people can say or do the same things. One I accept with grace and peace. The other gets a hot reaction. What is the difference? Is it the “charcoal”? No it is the lack of love in my heart that is responding.
So? If someone gets your goat you should be asking God to give you a spirit of love not thinking about what you should have said. With God’s help we can bank our own flames and keep the fuel dispensed by others from causing a disaster.