Saturday, March 31, 2007

envy and jealousy

Green like moss
Won’t stop growing
Like poison ivy,
Winding, burning
Spent too much time
Looking, looking left, looking right
I’m stuck,
can’t find the way
that’s meant for me
and only me
I am
Tangled up
Coloured by
Covered up in
Envy

ENVY by Jaylene Johnson
Visit www.jaylenejohnson.com

I remembered this song today as I was praying about jealous and envy.
I like this quote by Dave Ramsey, “Jealousy is wanting what someone else has and envy is wanting the person who has what you want to not have it and not enjoy it.”
Hmmm….

I heard a message by Charles Stanley the other day talking about “ if you will hear the Lord and obey, and not harden your heart...”
It got me thinking about how hardening our hearts stops us from hearing God’s voice clearly and how repenting allows us to hear it again. But, we will not hear Him speak to us when we have refused to listen and obey to something He told us to do earlier.

Point in case: unforgiveness. A few years ago I was deeply hurt by a friend’s actions. And sometimes when I think about her I’m tempted to pray, “Lord, please let her stain every white piece of clothing she owns.” It’s petty, but it’s there. Floating around in my heart. And if I ever get bored, it’s her face that floats up before me and I start imagining all the things I’d like to see happen to her…on live national television…like something really embarrassing, for the whole world to laugh at her about; for night time comedians to make jokes about her for weeks to come.

But more than embarrassing her, I want her to be jealous of me. I want her to look at my life and say,” Gee, I was really dumb to treat my friend that way. I wish I could know her now.”
I spend time daydreaming about how she wishes she could be me, which in fact, she is probably completely oblivious to the fact that she hurt me. In fact, I can probably say for certain that she is…the few times I’ve spoken to her she acts as though nothing has happened. Something to add to my list of dislike for her: completely oblivious regard for others. Grrr…

So, getting back to hearing God. I started thinking about the places in my life that I have hardened my heart to God’s commandments so that I am unable to hear His voice clearly. And it becomes rather obvious—I have not forgiven this girl.

I hesitated and squirmed upon this realization. I wasn’t about to justify to God why I shouldn’t forgive her—I have no excuse. Jesus forgave me for all my sin, I must forgive others. No, I didn’t hesitate about that.

I hesitated because I really enjoy my scenarios of her failure. I get a kick out of imagining her publicly humiliated for the world to see—jumbo screens in Times Square. And I know that if I forgive her, that I have to deal with my anger and the true motive for my anger.
When it boils down to it…and this is that moment when you really look yourself in the mirror and see something you don’t like…I am jealous of her. No, not jealous: envious. I want what she has had happened to her to happen to me, but more than that, I want her to not have it and not enjoy it.

I ‘ve been ashamed to admit this to myself. Could I really harbour such feelings for someone who has hurt me so deeply? Yes, I can. And it all stems from my own jealousy. My own envy.

I look at the big picture: I could hang onto this ridiculously petty thing and limit my ability to hear God or I could repent of my own envy and walk in freedom. The Bible says that love does not envy.
One of my favourite scripture is James 3:16 “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” That’s always been a clarifying scripture for me. Whenever I’ve felt confused, I know that it stems from either being envious or seeking to solve things myself rather than trusting God. But reading it now, knowing what I know about my heart, I am quickly saddened that I’ve used up space in my heart with envy and evil. A place that could have occupied His love or His grace has been taken over by my own need for a false sense of justice.

Ecclesiastes 4:4
Then I observed all the work and ambition motivated by envy. What a waste! Smoke. And spitting into the wind.
I have been spitting into the wind. I’ve been spitting bitterness and malice. And here it has come, back on me, and spread itself all over me.

Galations 5:25 makes an interesting observation about me. “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”
It’s true. I’ve become conceited in my thoughts towards this girl. Absolutely conceited.
All of it wrong. All of it sin. All of it needing to be washed away by the blood of My King who gave everything for my freedom.
So, I choose right now to do what 1 Peter 2:1 suggests,” So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You've had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God's pure kindness. Then you'll grow up mature and whole in God.”

God, I repent for my anger, jealous, envy and pure hatred towards this person. I forgive them for their biting words, their hurting actions, and their ignorant treatment of my heart. I was wrong to hate her. I was wrong to be jealous of her. I was wrong to waste my mind imagining foolish things to try and make me be better than who I am. I am so sorry Lord that I did not walk in love towards this person, but that I choose bitterness. Please forgive me for my thoughts, words and actions. I receive, by faith , Your forgiveness. I know that these chains are broken off my life and that I have set both myself and this person free by forgiving them. Thank you for the cross and the blood you shed that enables me to forgive. I am free. I am cleansed. And I pursue Your word, Your love and Your grace so that they can fill up all the spaces that envy, and unforgiveness had previously occupied. I look forward to hearing Your voice more clearly than ever.
Thank You Jesus for having open arms and great big bear hugs! I love you, my King.

5 comments:

Tamatha said...

Wow Holly.....I wouldn't have pictured you having such thoughts of anyone...you seem so sweet and innocent. But then...you are human just like me...and I know the thoughts that go thru my head/heart. Thanks for your transparency. I miss you.

Nana Cheryl said...

Won’t stop growing Like poison ivy.... hardening our hearts stops us from hearing God’s voice clearly - repenting allows us to hear it again..... saddened that I’ve used up space in my heart with envy and evil. A place that could have occupied His love or His grace (instead) taken over by my own need for a false sense of justice.

This is great insight!! When we truly search our hearts, and allow God to show us the honest truth, He WILL shine His light in the dark places to reveal the things that hinder us.

Please forgive me for my thoughts, words and actions. I receive, by faith , Your forgiveness. I know that these chains are broken off my life and that I have set both myself and this person free by forgiving them.

You choose to repent and release BOTH of you. This is a prayer God LOVES to answer. :o)

Thank God He not only provided the way, but He wants ALL of us to walk in HIS Freedom - free and able to hear His voice clearly.

God Bless

Amy said...

Excellent Holly.
i had (have??) a similar situation with a person I once called a dear friend. Suddenly she wouldn't talk to me and acted as though she "hated" me (pure disgust towards me whenever I saw her)..I didn't understand what I had done, so at first I didn't take offence...
Until it went on, and on....
Then, just like you said, bitterness crept in and I started to occupy God's space with that of offence, disgust and more bitterness.
It was so hard to choose to let it go.
It still is hard some days.
Good post!!

Cheryl said...

This is such a fantastic post!

I appreciate our real, raw and candid words. They echo my own, and most of us if we were honest. Bringing things into the light is the first step.

Wow, such GREAT words Holly. This is so deep and needed.

I for one don't want to waste any more energy in this realm. You are right, it stops us from hearing God's voice..... I wnat Him to occupy that place in my head and heart too.
I bless your transparency, and glad you are joining the Reformation team with me.

Together we will learn to be more like Jesus.

Holly said...

Good post Holly!
Most of us have such a hard time with the unjustices especially when they are against us or a family memeber. Yesterday, I listened to a teaching that reallllly challanged me. It was about us responding in the way that Jesus would. What did Jesus to when he was treated unfairly? Answer: He suffered and let God handle the Justice part. He also forgave. It is so hard to be like Him, yet we must! Good job for dealing with the dark bits of your heart, exposing it and turning away from it! Blessings!!!