You were born to fight. James puts it this way: “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” It is time to stop being surprised that you and the people you love are inclined to fight. This has been reality since the Garden. We all have a part of our brother Cain embedded in us. So the question is not why do you fight, but how can you stop fighting. Here is at least one answer: consider others, especially the ones you are fighting with, as more important than yourself. That is always your first thought when you are fighting, right?
Well, not really!
The reason this sounds awkward and uncomfortable is because you are more willing to listen to the voice of Cain rather than the voice of Christ!
Paul says you are to consider others as having more value that yourself (Philippians 2:3). So in a fight, in a verbal conflict, how does this work? Here are some practical steps to take.
Keep quiet. It is difficult to fight, to argue, if you keep your mouth shut.
Fools find no pleasure in understanding
but delight in airing their own opinions.
Don’t interrupt. Stop interrupting, both with your mouth and with your mind. The voice of interruption is the voice of Cain. Hear carefully what is being said.
If one gives an answer before he hears,
it is his folly and shame.
Represent God as holy, special. Remember that your goal is to show the wonder and holiness of God to others, not to simply win arguments.
Whoever restrains his words has knowledge,
and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;
when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
Recognize that anger follows hurt. Recognize your anger for what it is – the voice of Cain. When you are hurt, flee to Christ, don’t trust your anger. Anger will not produce good things, only more fighting.
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
Paul says that love is patient and kind. It does not envy or boast. it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Does this describe you?
Speak with gentleness: A soft answer turns away wrath.
You can follow Paul’s counsel and love or you can listen to Cain and fight.
Fighting is a choice. Peace is a choice.
Cain was dominated by his anger. He chose to fight and then to kill. In contrast, Jesus was dominated by submitting to his Father. He chose death so that you might love.
Stop listening to Cain. Stop blaming everyone else for your fighting, bitter spirit. Stop fighting. Start loving for Christ. Consider others more important than yourself. It is your choice. Fight for love, not for your own honor.