It took a while of prayerful consideration to fully wrap my mind around the principle “Love does not envy” as it relates to the family. I spent most of my childhood as an only child and thus did not have to grapple with the sibling jealousy and rivalry but I’m sure many of you have. Maybe a sibling or a cousin had the cutest nose and got better grades and was always attracting attention. Sound familiar? Or maybe you were the one your family members were jealous of. Do you remember how that felt? This creates tension within the family. Invariably what happens is that someone is feeling like less of a person because they’re comparing themselves to that other family member.
Or maybe for you it takes another twist. How about when you look at that other couple and think “O they sure look happy (in your jealous voice”, “Why won’t my wife dress like that?”, “Why can’t my children look like theirs?” or “I like how Mr. X treats his wife. Why doesn’t my husband treat me like that?”. This, my friends, is also envy.
What envy does is divert your attention from all the positives and create a dissatisfaction with the family you have. It sows seeds of discord and leads only to the destruction of the family. So is it alright to admire other families? Sure! I do all the time and I tell them so. There are families I admire and desire to emulate in some ways. However, this is not to be overdone. Admiration inspires and encourages so you seek to emulate that which you admire. Envy consumes, creates negative energy, decreases positive interaction and increases discontentment.
To combat envy, shift your focus to yourself and your family. Consider:
1. What are the positive attributes of my family and the individual members?
2. How can I affirm these attributes?
3. How can I improve on myself to make my family enjoy being around me more?
4. What can I do to help create a more pleasing atmosphere in my home?
Trust me, this will create a world of difference.
God is love. Love does not envy.
Image: Flickr by lets.book