That’s a beautiful painting of a lion’s pride – but that’s not the type of pride meant in Pastor’s lesson last night, part of Proverbs 13:
Only by pride cometh contention: (Proverbs 13:10a KJV)
Do you disagree? Then consider just the first of pride’s definitions:
The quality or state of being proud; inordinate self-esteem; an unreasonable conceit of one's own superiority in talents, beauty, wealth, rank etc., which manifests itself in lofty airs, distance, reserve and often contempt of others.Whether that pride is personal or held in a concept, a place, a ‘thing’, it is possible to understand that it is the root of contention – the beginning of arguments and strife. The Bible tells us more about pride, too.
David’s father sent food to his sons with their youngest brother. What one brother saw was pride:
And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab's anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle. (1 Samuel 17:28 KJV)
What Eliab displayed was pride – showing his feeling of superiority over this child who came to watch men at war. Eliab was so wrong!
Most of us remember hearing biblical admonitions against pride – one of the earliest I remember also comes from Proverbs:
Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18 KJV)
There are instructions in the Bible how to avoid this pitfall. How to keep from starting contentions, how to avoid destruction and falling, beginning with the close of that opening verse;
but with the well advised is wisdom. (Proverbs 13:10 KJV)
Honestly, some of the best advice comes from a man recognized as filled with wisdom. Take time to read Proverbs and heed the man recognized as wise. The man who simply asked God:
Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? (1 Kings 3:9 KJV)
No pride there. No desire for personal superiority. Humble. Consider those called of God throughout the Bible. The ones who replied, “Me? You can’t possibly mean me! I can’t do that job.” Yet, they did and we read of their accomplishments thousands of years afterward.
Want to avoid contention? Be aware of pride – in ourselves as well as others. Within ourselves, let’s clear it out. If in others, perhaps spending less time with their pride will relieve contentions?