Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. I Corinthians 13:4-7
Today let’s look at “love does not envy”. It occurs to me that we don’t hear many messages preached on envy. Not too many books on this topic and I rarely hear myself or others confess this particular sin. And yet, it is a major problem among those of us who are alive. Major. If we dig down to discover root causes of many other sins, we often find envy lurking there.
Think about it – have you gossiped recently? Or criticized someone? Or treated someone unkindly? Resented a friend or complained about something you did not have? Is there envy underneath those things? Could it be that we covet what someone else has - be it a lovely home or thoughtful husband or successful children – and that causes us to react in unloving ways to someone…..as if we can somehow even the score?
Love does not envy. Instead, love rejoices over God’s blessings to others and trusts that He is doing good to us, as well. Rejecting envy requires that we embrace certain truths about God. First, that it is HE who gives good gifts. Good things do not come as a result of self-effort but rather are from His hand. He determines who has what. And we need to settle that in our hearts. Next we need to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is always good in what He does. Recipients of His gifts may distort and misuse His gifts but He is always loving in His giving. And in His withholding. Psalm 84:11 tells us …no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. If we long for something that someone else has and wonder why we can’t have it, too, God wants us to trust Him. He does not have a quota on blessings. He is not going to run out of resources and He does not limit us to some certain amount of His goodness. If we don’t have something we are longing for, let’s trust Him. Keep asking and listening and keep on trusting. If His answer is “wait”, then trust His timing. If His answer is “yes”, then rejoice and know that He blesses us so that we can be a blessing to others. And if His answer is “no”, then choose to trust Him rather than to envy others. He is good. All the time.