Strife or Harmony?

A wise man knows that quarrels are argued by proud men—he is willing to yield.

April 23, 2019

"Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom."

Proverbs 13:10

Solomon has a beautiful way of getting right to the point in his proverbs. Instead of long arguments to prove a point, he does so in just a few words. Our verse for today is one of those concise statements that cause us to think. He answers the question of why we get into petty arguments.

“Only by pride cometh contention:”
Everyone likes to be right.  We like to think that our opinion is the right one.  Whether it’s the best breakfast cereal or the greatest major league baseball team, we have it narrowed down to the top one.  And everything goes fine until we meet someone with a different viewpoint.  And then watch the fireworks fly!  It’s the fourth of July all over again!  But why?  Why can something so trivial as the choice of cereal put us into orbit?  We want to be able to say, “I’m right!”

Have you ever met a parent who had the “perfect child?”  At least until the second child was born…  For some reason, the first child “changes” when the second child is born, and now there’s new competition in the house.  That’s when we see that there isn’t anything too small to be fought over.  Sadly, it’s not just children who argue over nothing, grownups do the same.  How many Christian brothers have separated, and churches split over trivialities?  I heard of one church division because they couldn’t agree on the color shade of the carpet in the auditorium, so they made one half of the auditorium one color and the other half the other color.  When folks came to church, they could sit on the side that they thought was the “right” color of the carpet.

Solomon was correct when he said, “only by pride cometh contention.”  We are proud and want our own way!  And that is the crux of the problem.

The Lord’s way is different:

“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder.  Yea, all of you be subject one to another and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you,” (1 Peter 5:5-7).

“But with the well advised is wisdom.”
The Companion Bible translates the words “well advised” as “modest.”1 “With the modest (the humble) is wisdom.”  The wise man is not proud, but humble.  He has no problem receiving advice from his counselors.  The wise man understands what deference is, and he is not threatened by those who insist on having their own way.

“When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom,” (Proverbs 11:2).

Believer, the next time you are tempted to jump into an argument, take a moment and ask yourself, is it just my pride being awakened, or is there a reason to stand up and defend the faith?

Beware of wasting your time and energy over trivialities, the things that will not matter in the light of eternity.




1.  E.W. Bullinger, The Companion Bible, the electronic version in eSword.