Our Passions Divide Us….
It is our search for self-gratification that drives a wedge between us:
Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? Is it not from your passions that make war within your members? You covet but do not possess. You kill and envy but you cannot obtain; you fight and wage war. You do not possess because you do not ask. You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. -James 4:1-3, NAB
These words could easily be speaking about the current economic, social, and political climate in the United States (or in most other Western countries) right now. Our passions divide us. We are separated by our own self-seeking interests. It is an “every man for himself” kind of world.
We may get what we wanted or desired in the short term, but in the long term, a society builty on selfish desires is doomed to fail. Corruption and deceit will eventually reign supreme.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
In Matthew 7:7, we read the famous verse, “Ask and it will be given to you…”, but as St. James tells us, it will not be given to us if it is only for our own desires and passions. Jesus is not a magic genie here to fulfill our every wish.
If you pay attention to what St. James is saying, it is not that we ask that is the problem, it is the motivation behind it. We need to stop focusing on only ourselves. We will benefit more from the greater good than our own ability to provide for our individual needs.
United we stand? Not if it gets in the way of our own desires. We need to change the way we think, the way we act, and the way we treat others, or someday, it will all come tumbling down.