Envy - Part 2
“I came to have a good time – stay up late, talk with my friends, and get away from the kids. I really didn’t think I needed to change anything, and then you had to shatter that with your talk on jealousy.”
A group of ladies were crowded into a cabin after one of my speaking sessions, and they had invited me to join them. Now this woman, who had come to the retreat, was looking at me with miserable eyes.
I didn’t want to “ruin” her good time, but I also wondered what in the talk had motivated that kind of a comment. She quickly filled me in. “I always thought that as long as I didn’t say or do mean things when I was jealous, it was okay. But when you said we hurt other people when we aren’t happy for them, I felt convicted, I mean really, really convicted.”
In the next few minutes all of the women started confessing times they had withheld a compliment from someone because that other person had something they wanted– a nicer house, better musical ability, or even better opportunities for their children.
I raised my hand, and the chatter died down. “You don’t need to tell me these things.”
“But what are we supposed to do? Do we need to go tell all of these people we were jealous and how sorry we are?”
I did one of those internal prayers for God’s guidance hoping the women realized I also struggled with this at times. In fact, I had thought jealousy a rather minor sin until I read James 3:16 “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there,” it was like someone had hit me between the eyes. EVERY evil thing…that is a strong statement. If every evil thing came from jealousy, I needed to get rid of it in my life. As I explored envy, I realized it dated back to the earliest of sins. Lucifer was jealous of God’s position. And from that point on, the Bible was full of stories of murder and deception - all with their root in an envious heart.
At the end of the evening, the ladies and I agreed that the place to start was in asking God’s forgiveness. Then we needed to get busy being happy for our friends - perhaps give out a few of those compliments we had withheld.
Here is an assignment for you. Think of Bible characters who were envious. How did they let envy control their actions? Here are a couple to get you started:
Cain was jealous of Abel when God respected Abel’s sacrifice but not Cain’s; so Cain murdered his brother. Genesis 4
Saul tried to murder David after he heard women singing David’s praises after a battle. I Samuel 18
Feel free to leave me a comment telling me your Bible character example. Who knows, I may use your example in my next jealousy talk.