Dealing with Envy at Christmas

by Greg Laurie on Dec 19, 2015
"A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones."

I remember a Christmas from years ago. I was a little boy living in an apartment. I had a friend that I grew up with, and we were showing each other our presents.

I was happy with what I got for Christmas until I saw what he got. I can remember it to this day. It was a little plastic scuba diver. Basically, you wound it up and it sank to the bottom of the pool, with little bubbles coming out. This was 1960s technology, and pretty lame by today’s standards.

But I’d never seen anything like it. I thought it was the coolest toy ever. Was it really better than the toy I had? No. But he had it and I didn’t. As a result, I wasn’t happy with what I had anymore. It sounds childish, I know. But do we really outgrow that attitude?

My neighbors are doing a room addition.
My friend got a raise.
That couple I see on Facebook are always going somewhere wonderful.

It’s been said that envy shoots at another and wounds itself. The only person you hurt when you allow envy into your heart is yourself. I hate to break it to you, but the person you are envying probably has no idea how you feel, and most likely couldn’t care less. It’s really all about you suffering because of a bad attitude.

I heard about a crab fisherman who would carry the crabs he had caught in an open bucket. Someone said, "Why don’t you put a lid on that bucket? Aren’t you afraid your crabs will get out?" "No," he replied. "The moment one of them climbs out the other ones reach up and pull him back down."

Don’t we do that sometimes? How dare you succeed? How dare you do well? You come back down here with the rest of us where you belong!

We would all do well to heed what the Bible says about this: "Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that" (1 Timothy 6:6–8).

The great thing about the gospel is that it’s for everyone. We don’t have to envy our neighbor’s forgiveness, because God offers us our own! Let’s share that message of forgiveness—along with salvation, meaning, and eternal life—this coming March 6 at Harvest America. You can participate by praying for the event, attending in person or online, or hosting it in your home. Pray about that, will you?

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