~ This blog post is an adapted excerpt from a sermon by Brad Ettore. You can hear the whole sermon, The Role of Humility in Our Lives (part 7), from Agathos Church – a non-denominational Christian Church in Columbus, Ohio by clicking here.
“Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.” (Proverbs 13:10, KJV)
The Pride of man has produced every murder, rape, war, argument . . . every detractive force that has taken place in the human race has come as a result of pride.
ONLY pride causes contention.
Pride does not ONLY produce contention – as many translations of Proverbs 13:10 would suggest. First of all, the Hebrew word order does not support that translation, secondly, simply think about the statement that “pride only produces contention – is that true?” NO. For example, it is pride that causes stage fright. Pride causes people to draw back from conversation with others. Pride causes someone to not want to acknowledge excellence in another. That short list of results of prides is “more” than “ONLY contention” . . .
Translated correctly, we see “ONLY by Pride cometh contention.” In other words, if there is contention, fighting, or anger within us . . . 100% of the time there is pride as well!
If we are really interested in attacking pride in our lives, simply know that any time we find ourselves getting angry, go on “pride alert!” The attitude of wanting “to attack” is of the devil. There may be something wrong in a situation that needs dealt with, but the attitude we address the situation with matters!
The pride of man is the nature of the devil.
Humility says “I’m sorry.” Humility is the nature of God. Humility comes from God. Humility is the GREATEST virtue of love. To be practical, if you are going to tell someone something “in love” . . . if there is any element of your planned message that is satisfying to your flesh – that part of your message is NOT in love! So in that case, figure out what it is that is going to be satisfying to our flesh and then set that part aside – before you talk with the person! You may just find that with that component of the potential conversation removed there is no more conversation left to be had :)
“And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye . . .'” (Matthew 7:3-5)
To see clearly to speak to your brother, take the log out of your own eye first! Don’t operate under the influence of pride (that is, under the influence of the devil). If you do, you are going to make a mess that you need to clean-up! Before you speak with them, remind yourself of times you have messed up.
We tend to judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their actions. We should judge ourselves by our actions and others by their intentions!
We lack patience because we don’t understand what God understands about others. All love flows with humility. Humility cannot be separated from love. They are inseparable!
For the sake of thoroughness, Jesus did demonstrate a type of anger that is actually Godly – righteous anger. That said, righteous anger comes from seeing someone doing something that will cause separation from God. It has nothing to do with self defense or preservation. For the vast majority of us, we need to be very careful with that – even “righteous anger” can be mixed with unrighteous anger.