November 14, 2023
Guard against envy and jealousy.
"Let us have...no envy of one another." Gal 5:26 RSV
Paul cautioned the early church about envy, and it's still a problem. Your coworker gets a raise, a friend's kid wins a scholarship, a neighbor takes a dream vacation. Do you rejoice with them, or force a tight smile?
We're human; an occasional flicker of envy is normal. But beware of harboring a chronic sense of being shortchanged. Tacitus said, "When men are full of envy, they disparage everything…good or bad." When somebody else prospers, before you ask, "Why not me?" ask yourself if you would be responding the same way if some tragedy had befallen them.
Jealousy is like a moth; it nibbles away at clothes until they're ruined, except envy destroys irreplaceable things like relationships and families. One author reminds us: "When we're...in the valley, it is human to envy those...[on] the mountaintops.
It is easy to forget [they] didn't fall there— they climbed there. Behind the success story is always a courageous decision and a gallant action...If we want to reach them...we have to..climb. Inspiration from someone else may get us started, but the success is in the climbing." Imagine a runner striding out; he is fast, focused, and ahead of the pack.
Then he starts looking at the competition. Before long he stumbles, loses his momentum, and drops out. That's what happens when you let jealousy distract you from completing the course God mapped out for you. Paul writes, "You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?" (Gal 5:7 NIV).
Keep your eye on the prize, and don't get distracted by what others have and don't have. That's none of your business.