“Mommy, she dances better than I do,” my daughter lamented a few nights ago at the dinner table. Eyes downcast, body stiff—squirmy. She went on, “I’m kinda jealous of her—Do you ever get jealous, Mommy?”
Yes. Oh yes. I get jealous. My skin colors a drab, pea-green as envy fills my thoughts.
She’s thinner than me. He’s a better writer. My mothering skills pale in comparison with hers. Their home begs for hosting guests while mine barely squeezes in a party of five. That job must be glamorous. She’s published? What? I wish I could sing like her, look like her, just be her.
Ashamed, I admit my list could continue for days. Why is it I allow jealously to seep into my soul? Aware of its power to destroy, I still permit the green-eyed monster to stomp upon the joy of my heart.
Proverbs 14:30 says, “A tranquil heart is life to the body but jealousy is rottenness to the bones.” Jealousy robs us of our contentment. Its rotten stench permeates our lives. You see, the bitterness of envy sucks the joy out of life. Envy left unchecked can produce in each of us the power to destroy lives, including our own.
Quite literally, envy was the catalyst for the arrest and crucifixion of Christ. Mark 15:10 says, “For he (Jesus) knew it was because of envy that the chief priests had handed Him over.” Jealousy is the emotional weapon wielded by the evil one to murder the Light of the world. The Joy of mankind.
Am I guilty of the same weapon? Yes. With a heavy heart, my answer hangs in the air. I too, have blood on my hands.
So often, when facing the black areas of my soul, I cry out, “What now? I know I keep screwing it up. I know my sin is wrong. But how do I fix it? How do I stop it?” Fortunately I serve a God bigger than my rants.
In the still-dark morning on my drive to work, He quietly answered me through a podcast. Hank Fortner, a pastor of Mosaic in LA, stated in his sermon, “Gratitude is envy’s kryptonite.”
Crazy in its simplicity. Demanding in its truth.
In order to rid myself of decay caused by envy, I must turn my heart toward thanksgiving. I must choose gratitude. Just as darkness cannot remain where light exists, envy cannot linger in a grateful heart.
During my travels to South Africa, I was astounded by the joy shining on the faces of some of the most impoverished people I have ever encountered. It perplexed me. Confused me. I could not understand the full, all-encompassing joy that enveloped them. Until now.
Those who believed in Christ, chose gratitude. They were grateful for everything—Everything! They had nothing. But they were alive. And they were alive in Christ. In reality they understood what my spoiled-American mentality could not. They actually had everything. And this was their joy.
The practice of gratitude in our lives promises to rid our souls from the burden of envy. Each time a jealous thought slips into the dwelling place of our hearts, determine to choose gratefulness. Begin to literally count your blessings, no matter how big or small. Try it. You might be surprised how envy slips away and joy remains.
Choose gratitude, my friends. Write thankfulness on your hearts. Search for the blessings of life. They abound. When we feel the bitterness of envy wrap itself around our hearts, gratitude will loosen envy’s grip.
Yes, darling daughter. I get jealous. But envy has a nemesis. Its name is gratitude. May I always speak this truth in your ear, child of mine.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful…And whatever you do, whether in word or deed,
do it all in the name of the Lord, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Colossians 3:15, 17
What are you grateful for? I would love to hear your voices of gratitude.