For the past couple of Sundays we have explored what love is…love is patient and kind. But to walk in the “way of love” is to also be aware of what love is not…love is not envious, boastful, arrogant, or rude.
I shared yesterday how back in May of 2000 the pedestrian bridge outside the Charlotte Motor speedway collapsed after a race. 107 people were injured with at least 13 critically injured. The investigation found there to be corrosion that caused a weakening of the bridge’s steel supports. An undetectable cause that went on for a span of time eventually caused the collapse of this bridge.
Envy is often an undetectable spirit that works inwardly to cause a corrosion of love. When we don’t pay attention to it, relationships often collapse under the weight of it. Very simply, envy is to be negatively energized with an embittered mind so that you take displeasure in seeing someone else do well. Frederick Buechner puts it this way: “Envy is the consuming desire to have everybody else be as unsuccessful as you are” or as blogger, Jonathan Bailey writes, “Envy is always secretly denigrating others. It enjoys stirring up our inferiorities, especially with family and friends.”
A couple of thoughts as to how we can guard our hearts against the corrision of envy…
- Open yourself up to truly celebrating with others when they do well and succeed…especially those you have been internally competing with. Take time this week to celebrate someone else’s successes. Offer a “congrats” to someone you have been inwardly competing with and recognize their achievement. Instead of grumbling when someone you know does well, let them know you are happy for their success. Celebrate with them.
- Listen to what envy is telling you about your own life – Author Elizabeth O’Connor writes, “Envy is a symptom of lack of appreciation fo our own uniquess and self-worth. Each of us has something to give that no one else has.” Maybe you haven’t truly appreciated what you have to offer. Sometimes our own insecurities cause us to belittle our contributions. Affirm your own gifts. Appreciate your own uniqueness and embrace who you are becoming.
So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t. (Romans 12:4-6, The Message)
Be who God has created you to be and know, that is enough.
Scott Wagoner, pastor