Wisdom in Interpersonal Conflict
Rusty Wirt   -  

Title:  Wisdom in Interpersonal Conflict

Main Verse: James 4:1-12


Key Thought:  We sometimes think conflict with other people is driven by the other person’s bad behaviors or attitudes. James offers a different insight. He suggests conflict is really driven by the internal desires inside of us. His solution to church might seem extreme, but it might be our best shot at healing the broken relationships with the people we love the most.


Supporting Points:

There are no fights like a church fight. Spinoza quote, “I have often wondered that persons who make boast of professing the Chrisitan religion – namely love, joy, peace, temperance, and charity to all men – should quarrel with such rancorous animosity, and display daily towards one another such bittered hatred, that this, rather that the virtues which they profess, is the readiest criteria of their faith”



Debating perspectives on theology to pursue truth-  yes.

Quarreling among factions to rise to power – no

Hearing differing views to gain understanding – yes

Attacking people who are different – no



  1. James criticizes those who cut up the body of Christ into warring sides (4:1-2)
    1. This desire to fight comes from you (not the other person)
    2. “desires” (ἡδονή, hēdonḗ) – meaning a supreme focus on personal pleasure
  2. Your prayer life, reveals your love of the things of this world (4;3)
    1. Our prayers are unanswered because they are offered with wrong, selfish motives
    2. This focus puts us at odds with our church community
    3. This could also be a direct reference to the Zealots who had recently became Christians
  3. What is the solution to infighting and selfish prayers?
    1. Submit to God
    2. Resist the devil
    3. Move in God’s direction
    4. Step into a season of full and total repentance
      1. Wash hands, purify hearts, grieve, mourn, wail, humble yourself
    5. The result- HE will lift you UP!



Examine your last big fight. Focus on what personal desires were driving your intensity? Can you label those desires that were fighting in you.

Examine your prayer life. How much of your prayer life is focused on you (your wants, needs and desires)?



Take notes below