Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 3:30
"Do not contend with a man without cause, if he has done you no harm"
This is the Hebrew word rib which means to strive, to contend. There is an interesting tendency among people to push back against what others want to do just because it is not their own idea. Solomon is talking about this issue. We just naturally want to present the other side of an issue. We bring out the exception to the case. We take the devil's-advocate position and oppose the new idea or plan rather than discussing and exploring it.
I see this tendency damaging marriages, disrupting businesses, stirring up churches. Solomon says: don't oppose or contend with someone's ideas for no reason. Solomon doesn't say this but doing the opposite is implied. Allow the other person to put out their ideas fully. Explore with the other person what they are thinking. Many times the idea has to be shelved because it has serious flaws, but the supportive environment goes a long way to helping the next project or idea.
Don't be so quick to oppose new ideas and suggestions. Don't become known as the person who is against everything. It is appropriate to oppose some things even as Solomon says, "with a cause." But do not just oppose something before you have heard it.
This is the word chinnam which means without a cause, for nothing, uselessly. If you ask yourself why are you involved in an argument with a particular person or over a particular issue and the answer is, "Oh, no reason in particular,” then you are violating this bit of wisdom.
This is the Hebrew word raah which means evil, misery, distress, injury. Solomon is pointing out that we can get all worked up against something that has not affected us in any way.
There is another possible issue involved in this proverb: taking up an offense for someone else. This is where someone you know was harmed by an individual and you begin to carry that person's hurt. If you begin contending with that person based upon someone else’s hurt, then you will draw a truckload of troubles to your life needlessly.