“From where come wars and fights among you? Do they come not from your lusts that war in your members? You lust, and have not: you kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: you fight and war, yet you have not, because you ask not. You ask, and receive not, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend it on your lusts”(James 4:1-3).
James elsewhere condemns the murder of the poor by the rich. Whether or not literal murder is in view here is unclear. It is possible that James views the murder of the poor by the rich as indirect, since the rich are depriving the poor of their deserved financial sustenance.
Regardless of the nature of the concrete issues which James is addressing, it is clearly taught elsewhere in the Bible, and repeatedly by the most eminent theologians of Christianity, that envy and hatred are the moral equivalent of murder because they are its source. Christianity each that whoever envies or hates will therefore be counted by God guilty of murder, and and can expect to receive a like penalty.
Humans were created by God to desire. More specifically, Christianity teaches that we were created by God precisely to desire God, and to desire him passionately and with undivided allegiance. It is when our passions are ungodly that they go out of control, because we end up mistaking ourselves for gods and believing that we ourselves are entitled to whatever it is our ungodly hearts lust after. In the case of Jodi Arias and Travis Alexander, Jodi believed that she was entitled to the affection of her former boyfriend. She desired it so intensely that when she perceived it as having been withdrawn from her, she resorted to murder. Travis Alexander likewise, believed that he was entitled to sexual fulfillment apart from God’s ordained means of sexual fulfillment. He therefore found himself pursued by a murderous lunatic.
We would do well to take James’ sober warning to heart. It is perhaps nowhere better illustrated in popular media today than in the coverage of the murder case of Jodi Arias and Travis Alexander. We were created to desire in general, and we were certainly created to desire and to enjoy sex. But we must follow the Biblical precepts concerning sex. Sex was ordained was a model of Christ’s union with the Church and it is within these bounds that they must be pursued. A man and a woman are to enter into marital union and to sacrificially render to the other, within reason, what is due them. Apart from this, we will selfishly pursue our own desires to their ultimate end, the destruction of ourselves and one another.