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!!