The other evening I attended a talent show/art fundraiser on behalf of a friends’ ministry and our school’s sports program. I enjoyed the evening very much. The singing was incredible, the music jaw dropping and the artwork inspiring. But as the evening wore on I could feel my self-esteem get lower and lower. I felt like an untalented blob. Apparently my friend felt the same way because in the middle of an amazing cello performance she leaned over and asked, “will we ever be able to admire something without wanting to either do it or have it?” An excellent and thought provoking question, eh? I have been pondering her thought ever since.
en·vy – a feeling of discontent and resentment aroused by and in conjunction with desire for the possessions or qualities of another.
That is an ugly word. I do not want to have that word associated with my feelings. Ever. Yet, I admit to having it when I watch people doing something that I cannot. That is a major heart problem. This enviousness is fogging my eyes, keeping me from seeing the full beauty of what God is doing through others. This jealousy and misplaced desire is keeping me from being happy for the blessings of others. It does not even matter if I do not have resentment towards others (reading my own heart I don’t think that I do), the fact that I am envious is an invisible barrier between our friendship.
Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets. – Matthew 7:12 (NLT)
When I play well in a game, perform nicely with a speech, write a good piece or have a new opportunity, I don’t want people to be envious of me, I want them to be happy for me! Genuine joy for others comes out of a selfless heart—a heart that is grateful for what God has done and doing.
I did not even know that this was a problem for me! Like much in life, this isn’t a one-time fix either, it’s a long process of becoming more like Christ. So it’s time for a heart check, people. Are you struggling with this too?