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Written by Peter Langbroek
Where do fighting and arguing come from? (James 4:1a)

Why do you fight and argue? Why do people fight and argue in their communities? Why do nations fight and argue, and even go to war? This is an important question. Like always, all-important questions are answered in the Word of God. There we can find the answer to this question, ÒWhere does fighting and arguing come from?Ó We, by GodÕs grace, learn to live peaceably and lovingly with our neighbours. Let me first show you the answer through a Bible story, entitled ÒCain and AbelÓ.

Cain saw Abel. He tried hard to seem friendly. But deep inside, his heart was a boiling cauldron, ready to burst. How he hated him! HadnÕt he given the best of his crop as an offering to God? HadnÕt he followed all the rules of worshiping Him? Then, why did God accept his brotherÕs offering and not his?

God knew his hatred. He told him that if he did what was right, He would accept him too. He warned him that if he didnÕt control himself, sin, like a demon crouching at a door, would pounce him and control him. But Cain blocked GodÕs words out.

ÒSay, Abel,Ó Cain said kindly, ÒLetÕs go to the field.Ó His brother kindly accepted. There they walked. CainÕs hatred was ready to burst. But not yet. They went a little further where no one would see. Cain, looking around, saw no one. His eyes glared at Abel. Abel, looked at Cain, shocked. Then, Cain leaped on him, took a sharp object, and slit his brotherÕs throat.

Where do fighting and arguing come from? (James 4:1a)

How does this sad story answer the question? I donÕt know whether James, the brother of Jesus, had thought of Cain and Abel, when, by the Spirit, he wrote to a church troubled by fighting and arguing. I do know that the answer he gave is found in this story.

Come they not hence, even of the lusts that war in their members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: Ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. James 1: 1-3

The sad story of Cain is told to show us that sin comes from a heart not devoted to God in faith and obedience. God accepted AbelÕs offering because Abel offered to God in faith (Hebrews 11: 4-6). Cain desired GodÕs blessing but did not want His Lordship. And this led to anger, jealousy, deceit, murder, falsehood, and self-pity. Cain was condemned to live far away from God. He could no longer produce crops. He was marked on his forehead, forever a wanderer in Nod, the land east of Eden.

So, peace and love begins by obedience through faith in God. The Bible says, ÒBut without faith, it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek himÓ (Hebrews 11: 6).

Consider also 1 John 3: 11, 12: For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brotherÕs righteous.

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