Contention is strife in words, which include debates, arguments, tumults and the like. From whom do contentions arise? The people responsible for contentions are usually:
Proud squabblers – Prov 13:10 only by pride cometh contention. They are motivated by the need to be right. They are usually guilty of not listening to the other person and considering carefully what they have to say. They’re too busy thinking about what they are going to say next; about how to escalate the argument. We have laughed at some who, no matter what you say, always take the other side.
Mouthy fools – Prov 18:6 a fool’s lips enter into contention. Fools talk on and on about their opinion, when what they think is absolute foolishness. They’ll argue vehemently. Just read some of the comments people make after a post on the internet. Sheer madness. Sports commentators are bad about this sort of thing before the competition even takes place. Evolutionists are also bad about this [Rom 1:20-22].
Offended brothers – Prov 18:19 a brother offended is harder to be won that a strong city. These are tough. No matter what one brother says, the other contends with him. And often you can’t even determine what it was that set them in their ways.
Contentious wives – Prov 19:13 a contentious wife is hard to live with. Many of the television women today are excessively contentious. I had to cover my ears in the waiting room at a doctor’s office when the women on a certain morning television show were ranting. I could not concentrate on the article I was reading, they were so contentious. You’ll never bring your husband around by being contentious. 1 Pet 3:1-6 shows how to deal with a husband who is being disobedient to the words of God. You subject yourself to him and maintain a chaste conversation with a meek and quiet spirit.
Striving scorners – Prov 22:10 contentions from scorners. Politicians and talk show hosts who discuss politicians are in this category. They have an open dislike and disrespect for each other and they don’t mind dragging you and everybody else into their contentions. The trouble with their contentious attitudes is that they are teaching this generation to disrespect authority in the home, in law enforcement, in government and everywhere else.
Babbling drunks – Prov 23:29 contentions from drunks. They go to the bar to get drunk and have fist fights and arguments. We don’t need to say much more than that.
Conclusion: Prov 17:14 says, “leave off contention before it be meddled with.” You don’t want contention is your marriage, your family, your workplace, or your church. The common saying today is, “Don’t take the bait.” Contentious people say things to bait you into a conversation so they can contend with you. Don’t take the bait. Here are three things you can do to limit contention:
- Make short, factual comments, clearly stated unemotionally [Prov 15:1].
- Listen attentively and ask questions for clarification [Prov 18:13].
- Make thoughtful replies directly related to the discussion [Prov 25:11].