“Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might.” – Daniel 2:20
Our “Women of Faith” Bible study has been reading a book called 31 Proverbs to Light Your Path by Liz Curtis Higgs. Each of these short chapters looks at a different proverb and the wisdom we can learn from each of these selected verses. This last week, we studied one proverb from chapter 14, verse 30, that addressed envy: A heart a peace gives life to the body, but envy rots to the bones. The author described envy as a spiritual osteoporosis of sorts. As many of these proverbs do, there’s a strong contrast between one action or attitude and another. So instead of the “wasting away of bones” that we can get from envy, we could have a “peaceful heart.”
In this chapter and in our discussion together, we pointed out the envy that results from the danger of comparison. Often, when we look at the perceived unfairness of another’s success or recognition compared to our own, we may try to say that we’re not jealous, but simply disappointed or discouraged. It’s hard to play these comparison games without envy setting in. Social media has only exasperated this problem of comparison in our culture. Comparing ourselves to others may lead us to think that we’re better than another and could lead us in the direction of pride. Comparing ourselves to others may lead us to think that we’re not as good as someone else, which can lead to this envy, first shadowed by disappointment or discouragement.
The author states that two of the best antidotes to envy are humility and gratitude. A humble admission levels our pride. If we’re feeling overlooked, we can, “rejoice with those who rejoice.” And instead of grumbling about what others may have, we can remember our blessings. So, if you’re struggling with the comparison game and a hint of envy (or even a whole heap of it) that may have set in, take the time to list your gratitude. Experience a peaceful heart rather than this rotting of bones that envy can cause. Taking even just a minute every day to name the things that you are grateful for in your life is a good way to develop a peaceful heart. Gratitude truly gives us life and strength and keeps our spirits healthy.
– Amy Givens, Director of Youth Ministry