Right desires, right conflict

Countless songs, articles, speeches, and books have been given about the stupidity of war. War is dumb. War is insane. War is useless. What is it good for? Our society, though it is secular, recognizes that war is often petty, useless, and completely damaging. We are quick and apt to point out the problems of wars between countries.

But what about wars between individuals?

We find ourselves in wars amongst ourselves all the time. That passive aggressive person at work you try to get back at. Road rage and wanting that parking space. Fighting with siblings, spouses, or parents. Fighting for our own selves. Warring for our pride, our wants, and our desires.

These should not be.

James 4:1 says, “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?”

War and fighting usually come from lust. They come from unholy desires. Instead of giving everything to God, we desire to hold back something for ourselves.

But how then, you might ask, should we correct evil, or fight for right? War is not always wrong when it is fought against tyranny and wrongdoing.

And yes, you are right. Corrective action is needed with people and with nations. Sometimes discussion is necessary, and sometimes violence. All of this should come from a right desire. A desire to protect the helpless. A desire to promote justice. A desire to help someone live a better life.

When your desires are right and you are seeking peace and restitution, your conflict is correct. But when it comes from a desire to promote yourself over another person or in spite of them, your conflict is petty and useless.

War over lust, pride, and egos is worthless.

Conflict with right intentions is what we must seek.

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What will they think of me?

Conflict isn’t fun. Most people like to avoid conflict. I like to avoid conflict, but conflict is necessary. There are countless times when a person must stand up for principle. When Christians find themselves in these situations they don’t need to fear. The God of the universe has ordered that they should obey His laws, and He will not punish them for carrying out His orders.

Proverbs 21:2 declares, “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.” Most people like to think that they are right all the time. I mean, who honestly believes that what they believe is incorrect? If you carry that idea to its logical conclusion it’s only possible with split personalities. But in contrast, God ponders or judges the hearts. The Lord is the one who declares what is right and what is wrong.

The next verse tells us, “To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.” Here we have another profound statement. God isn’t interested in what people offer to Him willy nilly. God accepts their gift, but He isn’t necessarily pleased. God is pleased with those who do right and follow His commands.

When a person doesn’t follow God’s command, such as the the liar and the thief in verses 6 and 7, God tells us that whatever they gain is worthless and their own works will destroy them. God’s laws are very important.

The title of this post is, “What will they think of me?” So going back to the original idea of conflict, are you ever afraid of standing up for what God commands? Have you ever thought, “What will they think of me if I  . . .?” We don’t need to be concerned about the opinions of others. We don’t need to worry about the approval of the people around us. If we work for God’s approval, then He will insure that we receive our proper recompense.

Proverbs 21:1 even tells us, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” God in special control of those people who are in authority. We need not think  about any retaliation that any unjust authority would have for our stand on God’s law.

God is control. He can protect us from their negative reactions, and if He chooses to allow them to “punish” us for taking a righteous stand, then we can know that we will be rewarded for it!

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:10