"Envy is the art of counting the other fellow's blessings instead of your own." ~Harold Coffin
I confess I have often struggled with envy. The biblical term is "coveting". The dictionary defines it, "to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without regard for the rights of others". Ouch ~ when I look at it this way, I begin to get a glimpse of why God speaks against it.
Is it really all that wrong? Isn't it our nature to want more? Is it really so bad for me to wish I had that woman's beautiful hair ~ my friend's expensive wardrobe ~ the new car my neighbor just purchased ~ the larger family my childhood friend has that I always dreamed about ~ the gift of song that a good friend possesses ~ and my list goes on and on. What is so wrong with desiring these things? I am not hurting anyone, am I?
God says yes...I am hurting myself by choosing covetousness over contentment. I am hurting those closest to me when I model envy and send the message that what I have isn't enough. I hurt those I envy by creating a wall of discomfort by my jealousy and inability to truly rejoice in their accomplishments and blessings. And I hurt God, the giver of all good things, when I imply that His gifts for me are not adequate...not enough. Like a spoiled child, I want more and more rather than being thankful and content with all I have been given.
Very slowly, I have been learning to say "no" to coveting. I still struggle with it, but it is getting easier for me to reign in those old feelings of discontent and redirect my focus on my own list of blessings. Maybe it's just that I am getting older. Maybe it helps that I have purposely worked at developing a thankful spirit. Perhaps it helps that I have walked through dark and painful seasons, and coming out of them sheds light on all the goodness in my life. Or maybe it's because God has been teaching me to get rid of my self-absorbed thought-life, and learn to put others ahead of my own wants.
Thank you God for all I have...and for all you created me to be. Thank you for this life ~ my life. May I use it to honor you and to bless others.
"True godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can't take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content." ~1 Timothy 6: 6-8.