How Do We Deal With Envy?


Personal Envy

I remember when I graduated from University with my teaching credentials, I was so eager to start my work as an educator.  Yet after three years of searching, I still did not have my first teaching gig.  I was desperate to find a teaching position.  Now during those three years of me searching, my younger sister was beginning her process of becoming a teacher.  I was excited when she finally graduated.  Yet when I learned that she landed a teaching gig right after graduation I was shocked.  Then after the initial shock, I became very envious.

Envy Escalates

Have you ever wanted something so badly that when you saw someone have what you want, you become envious of that person?  This disease of envy is especially prevalent when the “rival” is a sibling and the prize is the attention of someone you both love.  Your envy of the other person produces desperation which causes you to do things that no rational person should ever do.

Hand in Hand

Envy and desperation go hand in hand.  We become jealous of him or her that has what we want and it creates in us a desire to do even better than our “rival”.  This can be clearly seen in Genesis 30.

A Contest Between Sisters

In Genesis 29, we discover that Jacob was deceived to marrying the two daughters of his Uncle Laban; as explained in my previous post.  For Rachel and Leah, their marriage had now become a contest to gain the affection of their husband and the honor of motherhood. Rachel, we learned in previous chapter, had the edge in the affection part since she was Jacob’s choice from the start.

The Human Chess Game

Leah was unloved, but God blessed her with the honor of motherhood.  As for Rachel, God gave her the “not yet” signal.  In Genesis 30:1-3, Rachel wasn’t satisfied with waiting and used her handmaid as a tool to one-up her sister.  Like a chess player sacrificing a pawn to get at the Queen.

The problem with a competition such as this, there is no one to mediate and say enough is enough.  In Genesis 30:9, Leah counter moved and mirrored what Rachel did.  I wonder how the people that were used in this human chess game felt as they were being manipulated to do the will of their mistresses.

When people are envious and desperate, it does not matter who gets hurt in the process.  Even Jacob, the King that both women wanted, was caught in the crossfire of this chess match as seen in Genesis 30:14-16.  I wonder how Jacob must have felt to be treated as a commodity purchased with a fertility herb as one purchases a slice of pizza.

Source of all Envy

What is the source of all envy and desperation?   In James 4:1-3, it is explained that envy happens when our hearts are not in the right place.  For Leah, her goal in life was to be loved by her husband; and for Rachel, it was to be a mother.

Only One Can Satisfy

Both motherhood and a husband’s life are not enough to satisfy any person.  If they were, both women would have stopped with the first child or the first caress of their husband.  There is only One who can truly satisfy us; and that One is God.

Seeking God’s Counsel

As I mentioned at the beginning, I was jealous that my sister got a teaching job before I did.  When that happened, I knew that my heart wasn’t in the right place so I decided to turn to the Lord in prayer.  In my prayer, God revealed to me what I was lacking and commanded me to follow through to remedying it, assuring me that He would be with me through it all.  Sure enough, the moment I obeyed His will and sought His counsel, He blessed me with my first teaching position.

Seek God First

Jesus tells us to seek first the Kingdom of God and all other things will be given to you.  It is a bit cliche, but these words are true.  Are you seeking Him first or are you seeking the things of this world.

 

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