18 One who has no sense shakes hands in pledge
and puts up security for a neighbor.
19 Whoever loves a quarrel loves sin;
whoever builds a high gate invites destruction.
20 One whose heart is corrupt does not prosper;
one whose tongue is perverse falls into trouble.
It is unwise to put friends and family in your debt, as it opens the doors of resentment on both sides. While the intentions may be good, the results are often disastrous. It is better to give a gift, with no expectations of repayment, though this also may do more harm than good. The most valuable lessons often come through failure, take care that your help does not discourage growth.
“Whoever loves a quarrel loves sin; whoever builds a high gate invites destruction.” There is a common denominator in every conflict, “where there is strife, there is pride.” It is the proud person who refuses to let go of an issue, who isolates himself behind high gates of vanity. It is easy to see pride in others, but hard to acknowledge it in oneself. “If you want to find out how proud you are the easiest way is to ask yourself, ‘How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me, or shove their oar in, or patronise me, or show off?’” If you must fight, let it be against the pride within.
“One whose heart is corrupt does not prosper; one whose tongue is perverse falls into trouble.” It is easy to focus outside oneself in failure and trouble, blaming others and making excuses. But the main cause is often within. This may be painful to acknowledge, but it is also a great encouragement. Taking responsibility for your problems puts them within your control.