I am in pain most days. It’s my heart.No, not literally the organ in my chest (so, thankfully, I am not in any physical danger). But my “heart,” that place I feel emotional pain, aches most days; and it is a very real pain that stems from watching people hurt and be hurt by each other. It’s an occupational hazard.
As a pastoral counselor, I have done hundreds of sessions over the last 20 years. Many a time God has been allowed to transform lives, marriages and families; sadly, sometimes those ministry journeys do not end well. But no matter the outcome, a lot of hours are spent listening to stories about (or literally hearing in my office) conflict, quarrels, fights, jealousy and harm.
Perhaps you have or are presently experiencing such things in your own significant relationships. Do you ever wonder where all that horrific drama comes from?Let me share a few verses from the Bible that shed some bright light on that question.
1 What is the cause of your conflicts and quarrels with each other? Doesn’t the battle begin inside of you as you fight to have your own way and fulfill your own desires? 2 You jealously want what others have so you begin to see yourself as better than others. You scheme with envy and harmothers to selfishly obtain what you crave—that’s why you quarrel and fight. And all the time you don’t obtain what you want because you won’t ask God for it! 3 And if you ask, you won’t receive it for you’re asking with corrupt motives, seeking only to fulfill your own selfish desires. (James 4:1-3 The Passion Translation)
I’m sure you get the big picture; but allow me to break down the essence of those verses with three memorable phrases.
Why is there so much conflict in my life? Because:
- I want what I want
- I want to do what I want to do
- And I want it now
Granted, it is quite possible that the turmoil exists because the other person (people) in the relationship are living by the same three phrases. But you are not responsible for them; you and I can only change our own priorities, our own contribution to the problem.
Allow me to propose a solution, a goal to pursue. You can minimize the drama in your life if you focus your attention and energy on the needs of others;take the “I” out of those three phrases.
Wait, let’s take that one level higher; you and I can minimize the drama in our lives if we will focus our attention and energy on what God wants.Not sure what he wants? Ask him.