4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. -1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Today, we continue our look at how to really live in love. We have already talked about Long suffering and living with Kindness. In 1 Corinthians, The Apostle Paul mentions a third method of living in love, and that is “love does not envy.” If Christ commanded us to love, then this is another thing that we must apply to our lives.
So, what is envy? I have always thought of envy as jealousy’s pretty cousin. Jealously is, of course, wrong, and people know it is wrong. We all deal with periods of our lives where we deal with it, but in general it is unacceptable even by society’s standards. If you want healthy relationships you just don’t let jealousy and distrust in: but I regress.
Envy, unlike jealousy, is socially acceptable, and in many ways even encouraged. This is why I say it is the “pretty cousin” It is just as bad on the inside, but it plays a big role in our society.
You see, the difference between the two is clear but very small. Jealousy happens when something that is ours is threatened by an outside source. We can become jealous of a person, a job, a possession that seems to threaten our relationship with someone else. This tends to cease for the most part when we give up control to God and have confidence that while we are seeking Him, He is working out the details for us. We gain confidence when we give control to the one who should be in control in the first place.
Envy, on the other hand, occurs when we want something that someone else has. We can look at the state another person is in and feel badly that we don’t have it. It is common to see our friends and family’s lives working out so well on the outside and get a thought of “why isn’t this happening to me?” It is a natural reaction when we view others as being in a better life circumstance as us, but it has the power to ruin relationships if we don’t answer those thoughts in the correct way.
You see, if we think these thoughts, it is natural, but if we choose to dwell on them that is when we start to have an issue. When an envious thought comes in to our head we should be answering it. We should be telling ourselves how happy we are for the person (and actually be happy) and that it does not matter whether we have received the same thing or not.
What matters is that God is in control, and something wonderful happened to someone we care about. See, acknowledging God is the one in control allows us to step back and not have to worry about getting things we do not have, or losing things that we do. Perfect love casts out all fear. Without fear we have no envy and no jealousy because we KNOW that things will also work out right for us in the end.
We need to be rejoicing for those we love! Encouragement is so very important, even in the small things. We should never tire of sharing their happiness with them.