WWJD: Envy

Love does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13:5, NIV

“Must be nice.”

I was taken aback. This was my favorite show. Grey’s. One of my favorite characters. Bailey. Who always supported other women. Now, spewing these words about a woman who decided she wanted to follow her dreams and chart a new course for her life. “Must be nice.”

Why was I taken aback? Because I have said them before. Haven’t you?

Must be nice to be able to get a new car. Must be nice to quit your job and not work. Must be nice to be able to go on vacation. Must be nice to have summers off. Must be nice to… You can insert whatever object, whatever lifestyle, whatever luxury you believe a person relishes in, that you wish you had here…

What is this? This “must be nice” kind of vibe we have when we encounter someone who has more? Has done more? Maybe even just wants more? It’s our human, flesh-bound desire for more. More stuff. More praise. More of this world. The ways of jealousy are mentioned in James 4:2-3, and it’s a powerful statement of how it can breed not so very wholesome things in our hearts:

You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. (NLT)

“Must be nice.”

But, there’s nothing nice about jealousy. It is the very opposite of love. It is the very opposite of showing love of God. It is how we show love of status, things, money, sometimes people, and prestige.

And, when we don’t have these. If we know someone, or are around someone who has something we don’t have….think about. These have to ring a bell (I am talking to myself, too..I have not been immune): Why did she get that job? I was WAY more qualified? Why do they always get the praise and awards? Wonder who they are sucking up to. She is so skinny, and dresses so nice. I bet she is a stuck up, snob.

And if you are feeling bad, the Bible has examples of these very types of things. We come from a long line of jealous peeps. Cain murdered his brother Abel because God liked his sacrifice better. Sarah sent Hagar away because she could have children and Sarah could not (after she schemed for the child..that’s a whole other story). And Jesus…come on, the Pharisees did everything they could to trick Jesus, because he was smarter and kinder. And well, Judas. Let’s not forget Jesus and Judas.

But we don’t have to stay jealous. Walking around and lacking love for another just because they were gifted differently. Given something you weren’t.

Live differently than you do, in a way you have no clue and are merely judging from appearance. Because yes, that car is nice…but it could be paid for. Yes, it would be nice to not work, but they could be in forced unemployment. And yes, I can attest…summers are nice to have off, but the time between August and June is oh-so-hard.

We may do different things we think are nice, but we all have God.

And while they may have more things. More awards. More whatever you may want here on earth. There is something God is really jealous of, too. His love.

You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. Exodus 20:5

Those other gods? You may consider them to be those golden statues people bowed down to in the Old Testament. But these days those idols are anything that keeps us from loving God fully. Because He wants ALL our love. And we can’t love Him fully if we are coveting our neighbor’s car, job status, new promotion, new accolades, or lifestyle. If we are striving for love from other things like money, fame, or people.

Turn your attentions to Him. Turn your envy to Him. Ask God to come and fill you with what you need and desire. He longs for this attention, and He wants ALL of you.

“Must be nice.”

Yes. Yes, it most certainly is.

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