Today’s social media and internet chat platforms have become tantalizing playgrounds for those who enjoy stirring up arguments. But the Bible has nothing good to say about a person who sows discord: “A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech, winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, points with his finger, with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord; therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing” (Proverbs 6:12–15, ESV).
In Proverbs 6:14, “discord” is translated from the Hebrew (madan), meaning “strife, bitter conflict, heated and often violent dissension.” “Sowing” discord implies spreading conflict or scattering it widely. The passage reveals that an individual who sows discord is corrupted by sin and afflicted with a perverted heart. Solomon repeated the sentiment in Proverbs 16:28: “A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.” In Proverbs 6:16–19, he listed seven things the Lord hates, and “one who sows discord among brothers” (ESV) was one of them.
Solomon pointed to a dangerous heart problem as the root issue for someone who sows discord. Jesus said the same: “But what comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this defiles a person. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, slander. These are the things that defile a person” (Matthew 15:18–20, CSB). According to Proverbs 10:12, hatred, as opposed to love, dwells in the heart of those who stir up conflict. Hateful people delight in breaking up friendships and spoiling peace and harmony between brothers and sisters.
The Bible is clear that sin provokes quarrels and disagreement: “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division” (Galatians 5:19–20, NLT; cf. James 4:1). The apostle Paul counseled believers to stay away from “people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught” (Romans 16:17, NLT).
“Anyone who loves to quarrel loves sin,” stated Solomon (Proverbs 17:19, NLT). Believers cannot walk in the light of God’s love and continue spewing hatred and sowing discord: “If anyone claims, ‘I am living in the light,’ but hates a fellow believer, that person is still living in darkness. Anyone who loves a fellow believer is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble. But anyone who hates a fellow believer is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness” (1 John 2:9–11, NLT).
Paul warned believers against involving themselves in arguments and fights, even about spiritual matters: “These things are useless and a waste of time. If people are causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with them. For people like that have turned away from the truth, and their own sins condemn them” (Titus 3:9–11, NLT).
“Any fool can get himself into a quarrel,” stated the wise old teacher, but “honor belongs to the person who ends a dispute” (Proverbs 20:3, CSB). Solomon compared people who sow discord to troublemakers who go around lighting fires: “As charcoal for embers and wood for fire, so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife” (Proverbs 26:21, CSB). Fires leave death and destruction in their wake. Proverbs 6:15 explains that the consequence of such foolish and evil behavior is sudden “calamity,” which literally refers to “a crushing weight.” A person who continually and actively sows discord is pursuing a life of sin, and such a life is destined for destruction (Romans 6:23; James 1:15).
Jesus said, “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9, NLT). But wicked mischief-makers who sow discord can expect to experience devastating distress and severe suffering. If they stubbornly refuse to listen to God’s warning and accept correction, they will be broken and ruined beyond all hope of healing (Proverbs 29:1). The Scriptures issue no light word of caution on this matter. Having a heart perverted by evil is a matter of life and death. The aftermath of such wickedness cannot be reversed.