We seem to live in an increasingly angry society. Quarrels erupt: people shout, horns blast, strangers argue, profanities colour the air and blasphemy assails the ear. Quarrelling has almost become an epidemic! In itself, however, it’s not just a 21st century problem but a sin that is as old as humanity. Wait! Did I just write ‘sin’? I did, and it’s a thought that comes directly from Bible wisdom. “He who loves a quarrel” declares Solomon “loves sin” [Proverbs 17:19]. Raised voices, conflicts, arguments are all difficult to handle, aren’t they? We react to them according to the type of person we are, but very few of us find them comfortable. Even so, I was startled to see a link between quarrelling and sin; I wondered what else the scripture had to say.
In Proverbs someone who starts a quarrel is described as an unfriendly, selfish person who is a fool [18:1; 20:3]. The apostle James endorses the thought of selfishness. “What is the cause of your conflicts and quarrels with each other?” he asks. “Doesn’t the battle begin inside of you as you fight to have your own way and fulfil your own desires” [James 4:1, The Passion Translation]? However, he then goes on to reinforce the idea of sin by adding a connection to the tenth commandment. “You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight” he asserts [4:2]. It’s a sobering picture, isn’t it? Even if we are not the type to start a quarrel, we can so easily be side-tracked into reacting.
The apostle Paul wrote, “For since there is jealousy and quarrelling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans” [1 Corinthians 3:3]? It’s easy for us to act like ‘mere humans’, since that is what we are, and yet we are called to a higher plane. Scripture teaches that we should be growing into the likeness of Yahshua “…because as He is, so are we in this world” [1 John 4:17, Amplified]. And though He may sometimes have been angry, we never read of him quarrelling! So, “If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” [Romans 12:16, Amplified].