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In Conflict, Check Your Motives


By: Brandon A. Cox

Have you ever realized, mid-conversation, that the person you’re arguing with is actually right and you are wrong, but you’re already in too deep to turn around so you keep going anyway? Me too. It’s evidence of our pride and our need to be regarded as right, even when we’ve lost confidence about actually being right.

Jesus’ half brother James talked about this.

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

James 4:1-3 NIV

In our age of individualism in which we celebrate personal rights and freedoms, we sometimes forget to consider what is best for the other person, or for the community of people around us. Rather than trusting God with all of our needs and desires, we become impatient consumers who will blur our own ethical lines to get our way.

And when our ethical lines are blurred for selfish motives, people always get hurt. Relationships sometimes fall apart because nobody is able to lay down their own desires for the benefit of the other person.

Jesus modeled selflessness in relationships. While he lived in a healthy rhythm in life, he also gave of his time and his touch to as many people as he could. He eventually laid down his very life as a ransom for all people. Surely we can lay aside our right to be first, right, or best for the benefit of others.


Source: In Conflict, Check Your Motives