Monday, September 1, 2014

What is the cause of all arguments and strife?


You may disagree with me, but I truly believe all problems, struggles and arguments between people have their beginning in SELF-LOVE.

What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. James 4:1-3

If you think about it, why do we get angry with people? Isn't it because of one of the following:

They broke a promise
They insulted us
They accused us falsely
They stole from us
They abused us
They lied about us
They disappointed us
They betrayed us
They hurt our feelings

OR we might get mad at people because they have something we want or they got the job we wanted, the boyfriend we wanted. Perhaps we are jealous of them in some way, of their talent, looks, position.

Still doesn't it all boil down to US?  It's the I-am-the-center-of-the-universe syndrome or the all-about-me syndrome. Essentially, we feel unappreciated and misused and therefore our pride rises up indignant that someone would treat us in such a way.  Whether or not that person has a reason for their behavior or whether they are just mean and self-centered, it doesn't matter.  We are allowed to be angry at first. But we don't have a right to stir up strife, to fight, to cause conflict and behave badly.

But what would happen if we were other-centered instead of self-centered? What if, as the Bible says we put others ahead of ourselves?  Then when someone mistreats you, it just rolls off your shoulders, and you care more about what inward turmoil that person is going through to have caused them be so mean. What if your focus was on helping them and not on your own feelings? Wow. 

The reason I bring this up is because I see so much strife in the church these days, it must break Jesus's heart. I also see it in families. People who should love each other are at each other's throats. Friends are rejecting each other, groups breaking up. Why? Because people are self-centered. They put their wants, needs, and desires above others.

But, you may say, that person really did  me harm. Am I just supposed to let him get away with it? Yes. For a time. Yes. You return love for evil until the Lord tells you otherwise. There may come a time when God may tell you to break off your relationship with that person. But in the meantime, love them.

No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.  1 Corinthians 1-:24

Man, this is hard to do, isn't it?  Believe me, I struggle with this daily. Only God can change our self-centered hearts. I pray he would hurry up with me!! 



  1. AMEN! You hit the nail on the head...great post!

  2. Mon, Sept 1st,
    "Morning, MaryLu ... and Debbie too."
    Yes, "Amen and Amen" to all you shared !!! So true, and yes - difficult to always put others first. We become so concerned with "our rights", that we can easily overlook someone else's needs/wants/rights. My goodness .... look at the example of Jesus Himself: He totally gave up His right (of being God) to lay down His life for each and everyone of us !!! If that isn't perfect love, I don't know what is !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He had every right to be: angry, offended, hurt, etc, and the list goes on and on and on -- by a people ("us"), who want it our own way first.
    (And yes, I wish He'd hurry up with me, too.)
    Thanks for sharing another great post.
    P.S. -- "Happy Labour Day" -- to one and all !!!
    Take care, and, God Bless, In Him, Brenda

  3. Well said! Thanks for the reminder.

  4. Exactly. We are told in Scripture that we are to love God and love our neighbor. These are the greatest commandments, and they sum up the entire 10 Commandments perfectly. Much easier said than done, because I am pretty sure that all of humanity suffers from an inflated ego!

  5. Thanks Ladies... Believe it or not I used to cause tons of strife in my family. But I never stopped to examine where it came from and why I was so angry. It's amazing how God reveals these things to you bit by bit. I'm better, but not quite where I want to be. Hugs to all!

  6. MaryLu,

    I always appreciate your wisdom and especially your boldness to speak the truth in love. You hit the nail on the head! (Or Lora on the head!) It's just much too easy to point the finger at someone else when I'm upset. But your list of things was a mirror--that looked a lot like me. I'm praying hard as well that God will change my heart and teach me how to respond in love when I'm hurt.

    When Adam & Eve intentionally disobeyed God, they immediately blamed everyone else--including God--except themselves. Whenever I have the notion that if *I* were in the Garden of Eden, *I* would obey God and not eat from the forbidden tree ... I just have to look honestly at myself to pop that bubble of pride. I have full choice right now to obey Him ALL the time, but how often I disobey His Words (as you quoted above) ... especially when I'm hurt.

    Thank you for the much-needed reminder that--with the Holy Spirit's help--I will put into practice.

    Big hug!


  7. Agreed, Chaplain, and yes - it is hard to do, MaryLu!!

    I'm in the boat with you, MaryLu - much better than I used to be, yet will always be imperfect. Self-centeredness is so easy when you have a hurting heart and feel abused - even easier when God doesn't control your steps and your mind isn't stayed on Him. Dwelling on God and His word and putting others before self - is the path to improvement.

    Love, hugs, and prayers - MaryLu!! Hope your Labor Day weekend contained peace!!

    Post shared!!

  8. Thanks for your devotional thoughts. I SO agree!