Contentious people “kindle strife” by talking when they should be quiet.
Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife. The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly. (Proverbs 26:20-22)
To “cease from strife” is honorable. We behave foolishly when we won’t shut up.
It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling. (Proverbs 20:3)
When we “get ahead of ourselves” because of anger or pride we enter into a “combat zone” with others. When we know we have helped get things going it is time to back down lest they get worse.
If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast thought evil, lay thine hand upon thy mouth. Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife. (Proverbs 30:32,33)
Even God determined to not continue to strive with man.
And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. (Genesis 6:3)
Pride is the chief culprit in strife.
Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom. (Proverbs 13:10)
He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat. (Proverbs 28:25)
Strife involves competition and a desire to be before or above someone else.
And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. (Luke 22:24)
A spirit of strife is neutralized by a humble spirit which puts others first.
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. (Philippians 2:3)
A proud man also wants to “win” arguments and does not know when to let something drop.
He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings (1 Timothy 6:4)
Anger also stirs up strife.
An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression. (Proverbs 29:22)
A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife. (Proverbs 15:18)
In order to “cease from strife” we must let God check any pride or anger at work in our heart.
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23,24)
By God’s help we can bridle our tongue so as not to let a quarrel even begin.
The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with. (Proverbs 17:14)
Only be resorting to God and carefully heeding His instruction to us can we be kept from strife.
Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues. (Psalm 31:19,20)
Meekness, patience, and gentleness allow us to speak only what we should to another. Without these, we press too hard and over-speak.
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. (2 Timothy 2:24-26)
The wisdom of God is peaceable. It does not enjoy strife.
For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. (James 3:16-18)
Although we might have once liked a “good fight” we are no longer to walk in this spirit.
To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. (Titus 3:2,3)
God would teach us how to “defuse” potential arguments instead of enflaming the situation.
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness. (Proverbs 15:1,2)