1 Corinthians 1:11
“For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.”
Why is it that people who love each other so much seem to be the ones who can’t get along the most? Close relationships often cause friction, and one of those reasons is because they are so close with each other in the yoke that they know each other better than anyone else, and that knowledge causes contention. It is sad to see churches, spouses, and family members at odds with each other when they should have the best relationships of all people.
The church of Corinth was one of those churches that were contentious with each other. Paul said to this church “that there are contentions among you.” After declaring that they were contentious with each other, he then exposed the sources of contention. The sources that caused contention in this church will also cause contention in your relationships. Let me show you the sources of contention so you can take these sources out of your relationships.
First, a difference of information is a source of contention. Verse 10 shows that these people were all speaking differently. The reason they didn’t say the same things is because they were not getting their information from the same sources. Every relationship must get on the same page as to their purpose of what they are doing, and the same page as to who they want to be. Paul told this church that they needed to be “joined together in the same mind.” You will never think alike if you are not getting your information from the same place. A relationship that doesn’t make the Word of God their foundation for information will find itself divided and contentious because of a different mindset.
Second, personality influence is a source of contention. You can’t allow personalities to dictate what you do. If you start comparing your relationship with other relationships, you will find yourself dissatisfied with what your relationship. Every relationship is unique and mustn’t be compared to another relationship. Certainly, you can glean ideas on how to better your relationship with someone from another relationship, but it is unwise to constantly compare your relationship with others.
Third, the wrong focus is a source of contention. According to verse 17, Christ should be the focus of every relationship. If Christ is truth and you focus your relationship on truth, you will always find your relationship doing the right thing. Contention will always arise whenever a relationship gets its focus off of Christ. Christ is the source of peace and truth, and no relationship will realize complete joy and satisfaction without Christ being its focus.
Fourth, self-promotion is a source of contention. Verse 29 reveals that only Christ should receive glory. Contention always arises when one person in a relationship is concerned with getting their way. The only way any person should desire in their relationship is not their way, but the right way which is only found by living for Christ.
What is the catalyst for all of these sources? Carnality is the source according to 1 Corinthians 3:4. You can live in the flesh and expect a good relationship with others. The easiest way to fix any contentious relationship is to stop living in the flesh and to start following the Spirit. You will find yourself getting along in relationships when you both sides live for God.