8 do not bring hastily to court,
for what will you do in the end
if your neighbor puts you to shame?
9 If you take your neighbor to court,
do not betray another’s confidence,
10 or the one who hears it may shame you
and the charge against you will stand.
Knowing that conflict is inevitable in life, what is the wise way to deal with it? When someone has wronged you, it is foolish to respond with haste. Escalating things too quickly only makes them worse, what end do you have in mind? Instead, consider how to de-escalate the tension and free yourself from strife. First, go to the person in private. Acknowledge your error, however small. Forgive theirs, however large. The wise seek peace, even in war, while the foolish dream of destruction.
The proper place of court is that of last resort. It is best to use the minimal necessary force to deal with conflict, with the hope of resolution and not retribution. Consider carefully the ramifications of a trial. Both sides of the issue will be exposed, and the result is out of your hands. This emphasizes the importance of conducting yourself justly from the beginning. Besides being counterproductive, excess retribution will sabotage your case if brought to trial.
It is always wise to conduct yourself honorably and with humility, but especially so during conflict. Do not give your adversary a just claim against you, do not set yourself up for shame. There are wrong ways to be right, what benefit is it to win a fight at the cost of your reputation? Consider your steps carefully, it is better to sacrifice your pride for the sake of peace than to sacrifice your peace for the sake of pride.