"Why do you always have to fight?"
Kathryn sat on my bed this week, all twisted into a dramatic pout. Her face was the picture of disgust. (She can overdo the drama sometimes, like her mother ;o) Her grief? She says that she and Alex don't enjoy playing together like they used to. That they've been fussing and fighting all morning. (This I am aware of, as this conversation was part of shall we say... a disciplinary moment). So I asked her, "Why do you fight?" She had the ubiquitous childhood answer: "I dunno."
Well, I do. I've been reading James. Actually James has caught and held my imagination for a little while, especially James 4. James 4:1-3 tells exactly why we as humans fight one another.
"What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions[a] are at war within you?[b] 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions." (ESV)
Kathryn read this for me, and her eyes crossed. So I said, "There are two guys who are both 'in love' with the same girl. They start fighting about it. What caused the fight?" Kathryn says, "The girl." EERP! Try again. "Because they want the same girl." Right. Their desires. Their desires are in conflict. The reason Kathryn and Alex used to play without fussing and fighting is because their desires weren't in conflict. Kathryn had a goal, and by George, Alex fell in line. But now, she wants to tea party and he wants to sword fight. Kathryn was surprised to find the reason she is unhappy is because she wants only her own desires and wants Alex to never get what he wants. The conversation went on, as at this point, a talk about loving one another is in order. But my mind has been circling these verses ever since.
We are all in a fight. Always. According to the next verse of James 4...
4 You adulterous people![c] Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God....
There is an ongoing battle between God and the 'world.' (Side note: I grew up thinking that 'the world' was whatever my specific church thought was wrong. In other words, being 'worldly' meant rebelling against the rules about external standards. Actually, this is totally off base. Worldliness is the whole set of values and beliefs that stands opposed to God's word. It is possible to be very 'godly-looking' and have an extremely worldly heart and mind.)