Why Can't We All Get Along?
It’s the question of the ages.
It’s a question as old as Cain and Abel.
It’s Rodney King’s question.
During the Los Angeles riots, Rodney King appealed for peace, saying, “Can we all get along?” That statement was often paraphrased as, “Can’t we all just get along?”
Either way the answer seems to be no. Nothing has changed since Mr. King uttered those words 25 years ago. Recent events in America have reminded us that we are a nation divided by race, by culture, by religion, and most certainly by politics. We don’t agree with each other, often we don’t like each other, and sometimes we hate each other. The headlines are not reassuring:“Two brothers charged in fatal stabbing.”“One dead in school shooting.”“Heated Argument Turns Deadly.”
But the problem is not confined to America. Every day brings news of a new conflict somewhere on this blood-soaked planet. Today it might be North Korea or Iran. Tomorrow it might be a border conflict between India and China. Who would be surprised to hear of another terrorist bombing in Paris or Berlin or London? Just now I saw this headline: “World War 3 Fears Rise.”That makes the question of our text even more relevant:
“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you?” (James 4:1).
There are any number of hot spots where massive war might break out today or tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. But that’s only one part of the problem. Much closer to home, we see violent crime, muggings, drive-by shootings, child abuse, marital conflict, and lawlessness in the streets. It feels like the national blood pressure has gone up 100 points in the last year, and it shows no signs of coming down.
Add to that the reality of conflict inside the Christian community. Too often we adopt the ways of the world inside the body of Christ. When the world watches believers bite and devour one another on Facebook and Twitter, it’s no wonder they want no part of our Christianity.So where does all the strife and conflict come from? James wants us to think about three different battles that go on all the time. The first is the battle within, the second is the battle without, and the final and most important is the battle above.
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