Why can’t we all get along?

Russell Minick Leave a Comment

After a drugged up out of control driving spree through L.A.  The police finally stopped the defiant driver, Rodney King, and then in spectacularly controversial fashion beat him into submission.  Hugely irrational responses followed (understatement).  Rodney asks for peace, in the form of a question:

No Rodney, we can’t all get along.
But why not?

    James [4:1] What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? [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. [4] You adulterous people! 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. [5] Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?
(James 4:1-5 ESV)

The flow of the book of James has been to persevere when things are tough.  Persevere in what?  Faith that changes how we talk and act.  True justice and mercy, from the heart, even to where we don’t maneuver for advantage with people who are able to help us ($$$).
Now, he challenges the group to ask themselves?   “Why can’t we all just get along?”

The answer is the same as what Siddhartha observed: DESIRE.  Here it is ‘hedone’.  For Sid it was Tanha.  Allegiance to our cravings shapes our ethics.  Loyalty to lust, over fidelity, restraint, whatever… that is what makes us dangerous.

I want it SOOOOOOO badly! (that I will __________)
James says we are ready to murder.  This may well be an allusion back to his brother’s way of talking, as in Matthew 5:

    [21] “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ [22] But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.
(Matthew 5:21-22 ESV)

The act of murder is the decision to negate someone’s ‘made in the image of God’ status and judge them to be unworthy of life.  The dramatic use here probably doesn’t involve literal daggers and such, just the decision in the heart to X the competitor out and attack them in what ever ways best help one to get what they want.
Said again: I quarrel because I want my way so bad I am willing to change my view of people, more or less like a murderer does, in order to get what I want.
The next option is to not be so aggressive, rather, take one’s desires to God.  But James has to deal with people who have ‘tried’ this and still weren’t satisfied.  He explains that they are just trying to use God for their desire, not really being submissive to God and willing to have their desire met, or replaced, or whatever God would wisely decree.

Now, the interesting bit is what follows.  By doing this we are called: Adulterers.
Tomorrow I will look at that.  Why ‘adultery’? 

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