“Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.”
This illuminating verse exposes the root cause of the majority of our conflicts. From where does strife and contention spring? What is the source of quarrelling and division? These unfortunate and damaging traits do not flow from meekness and humility, but rather from arrogance and pride. So many contentions in families, friendships, communities, and churches are generally owed to pride.
It is possible that the majority of disputes could usually be prevented or resolved if it were not for the presence of pride. Would it not be wonderful to eliminate, or at least greatly reduce, the contention in our lives? This is very possible if we are willing to pay the price, which is recognizing and repenting of the pride that creates it.
It is pride that causes us to insist on having our way. It is pride that keeps us from admitting our wrong and asking forgiveness. It is pride that refuses to forgive those who have hurt or disappointed us. It is pride that exalts personal agendas and ignores the needs of others. Pride is such a destructive force. It damages or destroys all that fail to treat it as the enemy that it is. Pride blinds us to our own stubbornness and ambition. Pride deceives us about our own selfishness and independence. Relationships are hurt and sometimes permanently broken because of the venomous presence of pride.
If we want to free our lives from contention, we must free our lives from pride. How common it is for us to blame all of our problems on things other than ourselves. Usually the last place we look for the solution to conflict is in the mirror. It is the fault of the other party, or the fault of unfortunate circumstances, or the fault of the society, but seldom is it our fault. Our pride hinders us from seeing our role in contentions.
Even the strife we can find in our own hearts and our relationship to God is sometimes born in our pride. Contention is not only conflict between us and other people. It can also be tension between us and God or inner strife, where we are not at peace with ourselves. Again, pride is at the root of these contentions. Our pride keeps us from surrendering to God and His wisdom, from being willing to say, “Not my will but thy will be done.” To avoid contention, we must humble ourselves and walk humbly with God.