James 3:14 - But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.
Let’s face it. We all have things that we wish we had. We have situations that we wish we could change. We would like our bills to be paid and some left over for recreation after that.
I don’t think that it’s wrong to want to strive a little harder to change things. But there is a slippery slope that we can find ourselves going down if we’re not careful. And what is it?
Envy. But not just a little bit of envy over what you want that others have. No. This kind is bitter envy. We want what others have and we fixate on it. Think about all day and dream about it at night.
But when we wake up, we find that nothing has changed. And before we even walk out the door in the morning, bitter envy is already whispering in our ears.
If you’re generally healthy, you might have bitter envy over the coworker who was promoted instead of you. Or, the new car parked across the street from where you live.
And if you suffer from chronic pain or an illness you may be envious for others’ health, but it only covers the top layers of your heart.
It grinds and pulls. It makes your body ache when it’s not aching today. The physical envy over chronic pain weighs on you, but you can get it back under control when you try to focus on something else.
However, when someone has emotional pain, what they envy may not just be things others have, but being envious of their peace of mind and enjoyment of life regardless of their situation.
You don’t see anxiety tied around their necks like a noose. You don’t see PTSD following them everywhere they go. You don’t see worry attached by ball and chain to their ankles.
Except for the usual concerns the emotionally well person is able to move forward with their lives and reach for their goals.
So how does a person let go of bitter envy and not let it control their lives anymore? The article, “A Helpful Guide to Overcoming Envy,” on becomingminimalist.com provides some ways to do so.
Just as the Bible verse above says, even if you harbor bitter envy you can make it worse by denying it. And don’t boast about yourself and what you have unless it comes from gratitude and not selfish ambition. You will soon find that your life will be filled with more joy and ugly envy will slip away.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.