“…idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies…”
The sin of contention is strife, quarrel, especially rivalry, debate, wrangling. This sin is an expression of enmity (Romans 1:29; 1 Corinthians 1:11; 3:3; 2 Corinthians 12:20; Philippians 1:15).
A person indulging in this sin loves to do battle with people and express antagonism with hostility. “Contentions” is conflict resulting from rivalry.
Four out of the nine uses of the word “contentions” in the New Testament refer to life in the church. When we put priority on parties, slogans and personal issues over living for Jesus Christ, our relationships go bad.
“For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you” (1 Corinthians 1:11).
“…for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” (1 Corinthians 3:3).
“For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults…” (2 Corinthians 12:20).
When we think more of our rivalry and rights than we do of Jesus Christ, contentions always ensue.
People who commit the sin of “contentions” love to take sides in a dispute. They have no tolerance for any position but their own. The idea is “If you hate me, I’ll hate you.” This is the logic of personal antagonism and causes people to take the lid off their spiritual garbage can.
Some people are on the negative side of every positive issue and on the positive side of every negative issue. Right or wrong, win or lose, they want to fight. It makes little difference whether they are right or wrong. Strife among Christians is wrong if it comes from the “flesh.” We should not call our anger “righteous indignation.” That is hypocrisy. There is no justification for exercising our sin capacity.
Some of us get our feelings hurt very easily. When we fight people, whom we consider enemies, with our own subjective anger, we violate God. “If you hate me, I’ll hate you. Let’s choose sides and fight,” we think. Many of us live in this world. It is a life of strife, rivalry and discord.
Strife is a state of mind that brings a negative attitude of anger into actuality. Malignity produces debate, conflict and variance. Some people have no tolerance for anyone else’s position–their attitude is saying, “I don’t care what you think. I have my opinion.” Usually, highly opinionated people are insecure of their own positions. They are unsure of their own beliefs so they set their position by reacting against others.
“…being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers…” (Romans 1:29).
“Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy” (Romans 13:13).
“Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill…” (Philippians 1:15).
“…he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions…” (1 Timothy 6:4).