I wonder. Why do we struggle to just be happy for others when they:
- buy a new, bigger, fancier home
- succeed on a diet
- get that new job or promotion
- get married or have kids
- take exciting vacations
In fact, I’d even go as far as to say that we enjoy watching others struggle… and even fail. Do any of the following scenarios ring a familiar bell?
- Life always goes her way, so when her perfect marriage fails you’re secretly happy and your response is “Well, she can’t have it all!“
- Your co-worker gets all the breaks and is seen as the “golden” employee, so when one mistake causes him to get fired, you are joyous inside because now it may be your turn to get the recognition.
- You meet for lunch and notice she has put back on those 20 pounds she seemed to easily lose and you smile inside because now she won’t be getting all the attention.
Galatians 5:26 says “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”
This is right on the heels of Paul telling the churches in southern Galatia to live by the Spirit… as well as what worldly traps to avoid. He reminds us that “envy” is an act of the sinful nature.
You see, “living by the Spirit” and our “sinful nature” are in constant conflict with each other. It’s a struggle. We can’t do both at the same time. So when we are envious of someone or something… our sinful nature has taken over. Plain and simple.
It would be so much easier for us to just love others like Jesus told us (and showed us) to do. But that ain’t happenin.
Why can’t we love others with pure and innocent intentions rather than secretly enjoy their demise? Better yet… why should we?
Here’s why… “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Proverbs 14:30
When our hearts are filled with His peace… when we are happy with who we are and what we have… we find ourselves at ease with life. Yes?
But when that “envious” nature awakes, it rots our perspective. Life doesn’t seem fair. We find ourselves unhappy and bitter. I envision it literally eating away at our soul.
How do we get rid of it?
- Confess it every time it rears its ugly head
- Remember the person whose demise you giggle at is greatly loved by God… enough so that His Son died for them.
- Ask God to give you a heavenly perspective of him or her and the ability to love them and be joyous in their successes.
Don’t be envious of others. You don’t wear it well.