“Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.”–Proverbs 13:10
In 1731 the British ship Rebecca was boarded by Spanish sailors who believed the British brig was part of a smuggling operation. During the on-board conflict, Spanish captain, Julio Fandino, cut off the left ear of the British captain, Robert Jenkins. Fandino intended to send a message to England—and he succeeded. Jenkins was called to testify before Parliament about what happened, and he apparently brought along his severed ear as a demonstration of the truth of his account.
The incident was declared “an insult to the honour of the nation” and led to war between Spain and England—what came to be known as The War of Jenkins’ Ear. The two nations fought for several years, leaving thousands dead, and then the war spread to other countries as well until it involved most of Europe. The War of Austrian Succession and the Seven Years War followed, leaving hundreds of thousands dead. But it all began with an ear.
Today many churches and families are riven with conflict rather than blessed with peace. Proverbs identifies the problem for us—conflict comes from pride. If we are humble and not insistent that we are always right, we will not find it difficult to get along with others. While there are truths that should be held without any compromise, the majority of conflicts come not from such cases but from hurt feelings and wounded pride.
Peter said, “For he that will love life, and see good days…let him seek peace, and ensue it” (1 Peter 3:10-11). To seek and follow peace we must be willing to lay aside our desire to prove we are right or to get our way. We must be willing to extend grace and forgiveness, even to those who have hurt us. We can be certain that if we maintain our pride, we will never know peace.—If you want peace, you must abandon pride and listen to the counsels of wisdom.–Dr. Paul Chappell