Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife.
As the beating of cream yields butter and striking the nose causes bleeding, so stirring up anger causes quarrels. (NLT)
Some things in life are inevitable. This proverb gives two examples of the inevitable that are painfully obvious. Churn milk and you get butter. Hit someone on the nose hard enough and there will be blood. The only reason to churn milk would be to turn it into butter. As far as I know there is no way of turning butter back into milk. But why would anyone hit another person on the nose, or stir up anger in any other way? As with milk and butter, once a punch has been thrown the damage cannot be undone.
The problem is less with the inevitable and more with the consequences. Hit someone on the nose and there is a possibility that you may find that you get hit on the nose in return. Making someone angry could have the same result. It is important to carefully consider the consequences of words and deeds. Neither can be undone, and some create problems that last for a very long time. A good example is a recent parking dispute in the UK between two pensioners. After a heated argument one of these gentlemen punched the other one, who fell to the ground striking his head on a curbstone. The consequence was that one man died and the other is now serving five years in prison having been convicted of manslaughter. All because of a senseless argument.
It isn’t always possible to avoid trouble, but the advice in this proverb is that we should always avoid being the instigator. That means being careful with our words as well as with our fists.
“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37 ESV)