I don’t know about you guys, but lately I feel like everyone around me (including myself) looks for the worst in people. We are always waiting for someone to mess up. We are always watching to see who will fail next. How often do you hear people talking about how someone messed up, or how someone fell short? All the time, right? How often do we encourage each other, and celebrate each other’s success? Never. When we hear of someone succeeding at something we are also striving for, we roll our eyes in jealousy and secretly hope they fail. It’s human nature – or should I say, our sinful nature.
I recently heard a quote and it went a little something like this. “What terrifies me most is how we foam at the mouth with envy when others succeed, but sigh in relief when they are failing. Our struggle to celebrate each other is what’s proven most difficult in being human.” Wow. Can we put that on our own skin for a second? “What terrifies me most is how I foam at the mouth with envy when others succeed, but I sigh in relief when they are failing. My struggle to celebrate other people is what’s proven most difficult in being a Christian.” Ouch. That stung a little, right? If it didn’t you are either perfect, or not being truthful with yourself.
Proverbs 14:30, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”
To envy means to desire to have a quality, possession, or other desirable attribute belonging to (someone else). That’s pretty cut and dry, and every human on earth is guilty of envy at one time or another. This is a sin that we commit DAILY. If we aren’t careful, we don’t even realize that it’s happening and then before we know it…we are consumed with envy. The Bible literally tells us that envy ROTS OUR BONES. It kills you from the inside out. You can hide your envy from other people – for a while; but grudges, hatred, criticizing, slander, whispering, or maliciously talking about someone who is not present will soon expose it. Envy only makes you bitter and resentful doing nothing constructive for the Kingdom of God. It will pervert your thinking, torture your mind, consume your body, wreck your reputation, and destroy your life. Hate envy. Do not play with it.
Envy is so easy to let into your life. I mean, a quick scroll through your social media feed will do the trick. You see the highlight reel of everyone’s life and you begin to feel inadequate and not good enough. You see the newly engaged couple, adorable babies, beautiful weddings, proud mommies, people traveling, expecting couples, people getting promoted, people with a nice house and a nice car. The list goes on and on. There’s always something better than what you have to offer, which leaves you feeling worthless. This is the trap society is completely falling into.
We always want to compare ourselves to others. We constantly want to base our success off of others. The thing is, comparing yourself to other people will get you no where in life. There will always be someone better than you, more good looking, someone who makes more money, etc. Then what do you have? You are left feeling useless and unimportant. The only person you should ever compare yourself to is YOURSELF! Look back on your life and how far YOU have come! Look back and celebrate your growth as a Christian, as a mommy, as a wife, as a business owner, as a worker, as a (you fill in the blank). As long as you are constantly growing into the person that you want to become, then no one else maters!
On the flip side, when we see someone fail (rather than succeed) – we are quick to judge. We are quick to point it out, and we are quick to tell others about their shortcomings. I’m tired of looking for the worst in people. I don’t want to look for the worst in people anymore, I want to look for the best. If we look for the worst in someone, we will always find it. We’re human. We will always fail and we will always fall short. We will never be perfect. If we constantly look for the evil in someone, we are sure to find it.
Proverbs 11:27 – NIV, “Whoever seeks good finds favor, but evil comes to one who searches for it.”
This is something I have really been convicted of lately. If you know me, you know it is very hard for me to trust people. I have been in a lot of failed friendships and I have been hurt by a lot of people who were supposed to be closest to me, so I stay very guarded. I don’t let many people in and I am always on the lookout for someone trying to hurt me. I guess I’ve become so used to it that I’ve just decided that’s how everyone is. Well guess what? More often than not – that’s completely true! Everyone will fall short because none of us are perfect. We need to look for the good in others, not for the bad. Instead of hating someone who does us wrong, we need to learn to pour grace over the situation like Christ does for us.
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)
We are called to love everyone, no matter the circumstance. Paul, says that love “keeps no record of wrongs”. (1 Corinthians 13:4-5) Here Paul is referring to holding grudges and seeking revenge. How many people can you name on hand that have really hurt you? If you haven’t forgiven them, you don’t love them. Love keeps no record of wrongs no matter who they are, or what they have done to you. For “he who does not love, does not know God…” (1 John 4:8). Ouch. Let’s put our own skin on that. “If I do not love, I do not know God…”. That hurts, doesn’t it?
We need to celebrate the successes of other people, praise their accomplishments, grieve over their failures, and pray for their blessings. The second commandment calls us to love our neighbor as ourselves. If we want all of those things for ourselves, then we ought to want that for others as well. Straight from the Word of God. If you only want success for yourself and failure for others, you reveal your proud, selfish, and resentful spirit. You know that person you’ve been thinking about during this whole post? Yeah, them. Celebrate their success. Praise their accomplishments. Grieve over their failures. Forgive them if they have wronged you. Last but not least, pray for their blessings. Take a step closer to God today by following His commandment. Love your neighbor as yourself.
Pray with me.
-God, please forgive me for not loving others as I love myself. I have been prideful, selfish, and resentful. Please help me to love others as You love them. Help me to see them through Your eyes. Help me to celebrate other people and their success. When others fail, please help me to see the good in them. I ask that you help me to overcome the envy and jealousy in my life. I pray that we would stop comparing ourselves to others and spend our time building Your Kingdom instead. In Your Name I pray, Amen.-