Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Results of confusion and evil works

For where envying and strife is,
there is confusion and every evil work. (James 3:16) 
This is very instructive because it shows us that confusion and evil works have direct results—envying and strife.

Confusion happens when a person is torn in two or more directions at once by different forces, each which act on different desires that can’t both be gratified.  In the church, members’ confusion tends to arise when commandments and doctrine and the desire to do good pulls one way and the philosophies of the world with negative peer pressure and desire for popularity and praise of the world and the weight of “this is just how things are today” pulls another way.

Confusion combined with disobedience to the commandments leads to a pitiable state of unhappiness and discontent.  (Wickedness never was happiness..)  The discomfort at this stage causes one to cast about, not for ways to change for the better, but to find something or someone to blame.  “Who is causing my problem?  It can’t be me.”  Anyone who seems happy is both despised for their “simplistic outlook” and envied for a state that seems forever out of reach.  External requirements and expectations become burdensome, particularly in the area where sin is.  It becomes easier to fight the commandments than to obey them.

But let’s turn this around.  If confusion and evil works bring out envy and strife, then it is just as true that certainty (testimony) and every good work bring out contentment and peace.