James 4 tells us, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?” As I watch passionate discussions on social media regarding politics or certain movie’s or differing beliefs James 4 keeps coming to mind.
I have been described many times through out my life as a passionate person. The dictionary defines passionate as “having, compelled by, or ruled by intense emotion or strong feeling.” It isn’t wrong to be a passionate person. I believe it may just be in the DNA of some people. It’s what we do with our intense emotions that can be right or wrong. People of faith believe deeply in their theology and that is not wrong. However, when our passions about scripture cause us to hurt one another, it is wrong. We must not forget that God’s word says the world will know God’s children by their love.
Ecclesiastes tells us that there is nothing new under the sun. Disagreements and conflict over doctrine and the interpretation of the Word of God is nothing new. Thus the reason for so many different denominations. Wars have broken out all over the world in the name of religion. Human’s can rationalize almost anything when they feel deep passion in their souls. Keeping our passions in check and asking God to guide us will create grace for other’s while we stay true to our own feelings.
In a previous blog I wrote that there are two reasons someone speaks out so valiantly against “The Shack.” I said it is either fear or arrogance. After much thought I believe God is reminding me that there is a third reason. Some people honestly believe that the book/movie will teach people wrong ideas about God. A few years ago I would have believed the same thing. So I need to be patient and merciful to my friends who believe differently than myself no matter what the topic.
We each have a responsibility to take anything we see, read or hear, whether it be from a movie or a pulpit, to the Word of God and check it out ourselves. However, there is something we need to remember. Many times through out our spiritual journey we find ourselves reading a scripture and seeing a different interpretation of that scripture down the road. Can we stay open and prayerful as we consider our interpretation of scripture may need to be tweaked by the Holy Spirit? Growing in our faith is a process and God will continually grow us up into full maturity according to I Corinthians. But we need to remember that this growth process is a life long journey. And everyone is in process.
I will end with more from James 4:6-12:
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.
There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?