James 4:1-2 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? (2) You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.
You desire and do not have, so you murder. This wickedness is really at the very root of evil. I have often observed that domestic abusers (and abusers of all other kinds) are murderers. Abuse is murder. We see its victims suffering from all kinds of illnesses brought on by the years and years of stress. Living with a domestic abuser is to “live” a slow death. That is how I felt for the first 25 years of pastoral ministry. Joy? Hardly. It was a slow death that continued to work its evil until I saw what was happening, by the Lord’s grace, and I was done with these sons of the enemy who parade as sons of righteousness.
What makes a sociopath, a narcissist, an abuser, or other type of predator “tick”? What are they thinking? What is their motive? James tells us. They lust. They desire. They want. And when what they desire is denied them, they murder. If you want to see what an evil man is all about, just say one simple word to him – “No.” Deny him the power and control he demands. Deny that world-loving teenager the iphone he insists he is entitled to. Just say “no” to the wealthy wolf in your church who threatens to withhold his money unless his demands are met. Deny that hypocrite parading as the most eminent saint in your church the glory and worship he lusts for.
We had a man show up at our church some years back. He would always sit in the very front pew, nodding his head energetically during the sermons. And right after the service he would walk up front to the offering box (we don’t take a typical “pass the plate” offering), ceremoniously pull out a check, and drop it in the box for all to see. I should have asked him if we could get some trumpets to blow during his “giving.”
Well, a few weeks into this scenario he asked what he could “do” for ministry in the church. I told him that we generally like to wait for a year or so before involving a new person in such a capacity and that we also run background checks in order to help protect our people, especially the children. Done. Over. He never came back again. He saw that we weren’t going to praise and worship him, so off to prowl for more easy prey elsewhere. I can assure you that he hated us from that moment on. Why? He desired…and he could not have.
Many, if not most, professing Christians who get active in “ministry” organizations such as church denominations, do so because they also lust for self-glory and praise. They burn to have power and control over others. They are of their father the devil who announced “I will be like the Most High.” And very often they are successful. No one confronts them. They are handed what they desire. Up the career ladder they go, feeding like the spiritual parasites they are.
But just tell them “no” and see what happens.
We would all be wise to frequently remind ourselves of what James goes on to say:
Jas 4:4-6 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (5) Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? (6) But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”