What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? James 4: 1
Quarreling and “fighting mad” with words. We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Being a Christian doesn’t keep us immune from doing undesirable and ungodly things!
But the question becomes, do we find ourselves engaging in such activity often? And when we do, are we always finding a reason to blame others for it? Or could we possibly be the cause ourselves?
Ah, the truths we find in Scripture! In this verse, James reminds us that we should search humbly within ourselves to discover the real cause for our anger or frustrations when we seem to be constantly bickering and quarreling with others. He makes the assertion that we “fight” because of the warring passions inside of us and our desire to have things our own way.
We should ask ourselves, “What is this fighting really about? What is it that I want or need, or what am I trying to protect or gain? Am I trying to manipulate to get my way?” We need to search our hearts and recognize the areas in our lives where our own selfishness and pride interfere, and then work to correct them.
Close, loving relationships take commitment and effort. Sometimes we feel as if we give more than we get, and it causes dissension between us. Yet, Scripture tells us that quarreling is never productive or helpful. Words may be spoken that are hurtful and they can’t be taken back. They can create misunderstandings that can damage relationships. Instead of quarreling and fighting, we need to have conversations in which we look for ways to compromise and work through the issues between us with kindness and respect.
It seems in our culture today, it is admirable to “fight” for what we think is true and just, and we think it protects our dignity to respond to every perceived slight, no matter how small. There are those in our lives who seem to think that they are always right, and they arrogantly feel it is their responsibility to help us see their way of thinking. Some seek confrontation and like to offend. Others use arguments to make themselves appear smarter, or they may want to get even with someone by using hurtful words. Whatever the reason, it all comes down to a matter of selfish desires. We can’t always avoid opposition or differences in opinion, but we can deal with these individuals in a respectful manner.
How many times have we seen love overcome differences and conflict? If we could only stop focusing so much on our own desires and needs and love each other as true disciples of Christ. May He show us the way!
Dear God, help us search our hearts for selfish motives and desires in our relationships with others. May we treat them with the same dignity and respect that we would like to be treated. May others see your love and grace in us. Amen