Me? Couldn't Be
Verse 1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?
Yesterday we were talking about our need to be peacemakers. It shouldn’t surprise us that James now turns to deal with arguments.
Notice James doesn’t say, “If there ever comes a time where arguments arise…” He knew that it wasn’t a matter of ‘if’ there would be arguments. These believers that had been scattered abroad were no different than us. They found things that they didn’t agree on and instead of being peacemakers they fought.
The question that James asks was a call to acknowledge the root cause of these arguments. We will find that they are the same things that start the arguments in our relationships. So let’s look at these issues and see what we need to address in our lives and in the life of the church.
To point out the root issues James uses the common Jewish technique of asking a question to help the other person to reason through the answer. This question is purposely worded so that it requires inward inspection. James knew that we are more likely to dwell on what we think the other person’s role in the dispute is than our own part in it. By asking the question this way he was making them look at themselves.
This question tells us that the root issue of our arguments dwells within ourselves. This is not what most of us would like to think about. We don’t like to think that most arguments in our lives stem from our selfishness. But if we are honest that is the root cause. We want our way because we think it is best. We like to think we know more than others and so we should be the one that is listened to. This is a selfish attitude but we don’t like to admit it.
This is the first thing we need to remember as we start talking about this issue that is just as common in the Church as it is in the world. When selfishness rules our hearts, every threat to that status causes us to jump into battle. This is not the way of Christ.
Making It Personal
Have you ever thought of yourself as the reason for the argument? What types of things do you find yourself battling about most often? Who is someone that you could stop arguing with if you stopped being selfish?
Making It Personal Kids
Why do you think that your way is best? Do you like arguing? How can you stop a fight today?
Father, we are a selfish people. We become so focused on ourselves that we forget we are to love each other and we can’t love each other if we are too busy loving ourselves. Help us to be others focused. In Jesus’ name, amen.