A Proverb for Today — Proverbs 13:10

“Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom” (Proverbs 13:10).

This proverb is pretty simple.  Contention comes out of pride.  If you are in contention or strife, if you are not at peace with someone, pride is part of the problem.

“WAIT A MINUTE!  IT’S NOT MY FAULT!”

It may not be your fault.  You might be right.  Romans 12:18 says, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”  The clear implication is that it isn’t always possible to be at peace with everyone.  You may have done all you can to be peaceable.  The pride that this verse is talking about may be in the other person, and not in you at all.

But….  (Those of you who know me know there’s almost always a “but”).

Isn’t that very response, “It’s not my fault,” rooted in pride?  When you get to the bottom of it, when we claim innocence in the matter we are saying how good we are, at least compared to that other horrible person.

The humility that Christ expects of His followers doesn’t say, “It’s not my fault, I’m doing all I can.”  That is simply pride.  Humility says, “Help me see and correct where I’m part of the problem.  What have I done (or am I currently doing) that has made things worse?  What can I do to correct it?”

“Humble pie” may taste horrible, but it’s one of the healthiest things we can eat.  It helps us build an immunity to strife and conflict. 

What is harder to say than, “I was wrong”?  How about, “I was wrong” when you are sure the other person was even more wrong, and you are in conflict with him over it?  Yes, that is even harder, especially if the person’s response is negative. 

We can’t dictate or control another person’s response, and God doesn’t promise that humility will always cause others to respond well.  The “other guy” usually has this thing called pride, too.  We both have it — that’s how we got into conflict, after all.  We don’t know if he will respond to our humility with pride and bitterness, or with matching humility and grace.

But we can know this.  God blesses humility.

Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.  James 4:6

Since we all need God’s grace, let’s pursue humility.  If we’re in conflict with someone, it is pretty likely that our pride is involved and we have an opportunity to learn a little more humility, trusting God’s grace.

I don’t think anyone ever sinned because they were too humble, but pride destroys millions of people and relationships.  In cases of conflict, the pride is usually a two-way street.

About Jon Gleason

Pastor of Free Baptist Church of Glenrothes
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