[Column] Do Not Fight or Quarrel

Arguing produces nothing beneficial. Biting and devouring one another bring nothing but mutual destruction. Moreover they harm those around us. “If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” (Galatians 5:15). There were two goldfish in the fish tank. As they constantly hated each other and bickered over small things, their mutual enmity escalated to violence. In the end, one of the fish died due to heavy injury. The lone surviving fish was ecstatic thinking that it can now live comfortably. Ironically, however, the surviving fish also died because the dead fish started to decompose and contaminated water. What is the moral of this story? Man cannot live alone.

Therefore, we must cooperate with one another without arguing. The Chinese character for man or humanity is 人(pronounced ren). Traditionally, it has been understood in Korea and Japan that the character represents two persons supporting each other. This demonstrates that humanity cannot function properly or find its happiness without mutual amiability. There is a Japanese proverb, “人を呪わば穴二つ(hito o norowaba ana futatsu)” which is roughly translated as “If you curse a man, there will be two holes.” An English equivalent would be “Curses, like chickens, come home to roost.”

True happiness is life does not come from money, prestige, or knowledge. It comes from peace and unity. Sometimes, we see married couples fight over the welfare of their children. Ironically, such discord itself can destroy the children. For the good of the children, it would be better for married couples to love one another rather than to argue. “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.” (Proverbs 17:1). While many attribute the cause of argument to others, Apostle James holds one’s selfish ambition responsible for discord (James 3:16; James 4:1-2). Fights and quarrels hurt everyone and destroy the community. We must take every precaution to prevent fights and quarrels.

Living in harmony is more precious than gold or silver. It is more valuable than prestige and power. Why so? Because one experiences heaven and happiness through it. Furthermore, he whop lives in harmony with others experiences the indwelling of the Kingdom of God: “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). People work hard to eat and drink. If there is no peace in it, however, they will not experience the Kingdom of God. In heaven, there are neither fights nor quarrels. Where we fight and quarrel becomes hell on earth. God wants us to be at peace with everyone and be happy: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18). To experience heaven, we must be at peace with others. To make our worship acceptable unto God and to have our prayers answered, we must offer unto God peace offering and reconcile with our neighbor (Matthew 5:23-24; 1 Peter 3:7) for we can neither unite with nor behold God without seeking peace with everyone and holiness (Hebrews 12:14). The Bible says we ear glory if we forgive others of their offenses and avoid strife (Proverbs 19:11; 20:3).

To be a peacemaker, one must have peace in his heart. He who is without peace in his heart cannot tolerate peace. Why do some people frequently fight and quarrel? Because peace and harmony have been shattered in their hearts. To attain peace in our hearts, we must first submit to God and be in a right relationship with Him (Job 22:21). As we please God, He will cause us to be at peace with others, even with our enemies (Proverbs 16:7). God establishes order (Job 25:2) and is the king of peace (Isaiah 9:6). We will be acknowledged as the children of God when we establish peace without quarreling or fighting (Matthew 5:9). Spiritual maturity is not dependent upon the length of church membership, but upon the degree of resemblance to the image of God. If there are those among you who have conflicts with or enmity against others, please forgive them and resolve these negative emotions. Where there are self-centeredness and discord, there is hell. Where there are love and peace, however, there is heaven.

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