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Archive for April, 2012

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Do you know someone who has a problem with jealousy?  People like this are envious of others who have something that they don’t – whether it’s a desired look, a talent, a personal possession, or any number of things that someone prone to this emotion may resent another person for having.  On the flip side of the coin, some people are jealous of others who have similar talents, attributes, or successes as they do, but for some reason feel an overwhelming need to outdo or make the objects of their jealousy look bad in some way – either through direct put-downs or gossiping about them to others.  This type of jealousy is known as rivalry and can get pretty ugly.  Then there’s another type of jealousy which is righteous and has to do with a person wanting to protect and hold on to something that is exclusively theirs.  This is the kind that a husband has for his wife if he senses that another man may be trying to take her away.  It’s also the kind that God possesses when His people turn away from Him and put other things or “gods” before Him.  (Exodus 34:14)

In the context of this article, we will discuss the type of jealousy that pertains to being envious of others because they possess something that we don’t.  We’ll discuss the underlying reasons behind this and what can be done to overcome this very toxic emotion.

So what causes jealousy?  Why are some people more prone to this emotion than others?  Well, pretty high on the list would be feelings of insecurity.  A person who doesn’t feel good about themselves has a tendency to see others as a threat to their popularity, relationships, self-worth, or any number of things they need to feel secure in themselves – especially if they think another person has the upper hand in a certain area.

Another cause of jealousy is covetousness.  If someone has something that another person wants but cannot acquire, for whatever reason, then there is a tendency for them to resent that person because of this.  Perhaps they were deprived of certain things as a child and always wished they had the same “cool” toys or clothing as their peers.  This may have grown into a compulsive desire to “keep up with the Joneses” in adulthood.

I once knew a woman who copied everything her friend did.  They were both from the same place in the Caribbean.  I’m not sure who moved to the United States first (I could take an educated guess, though), but once over here, they lived in the same neighborhood.  If this woman’s friend bought a certain Victorian arm chair, then she would go out and buy the exact same Victorian arm chair.  If her friend painted her house a certain color (gray), then she had her house painted the exact same color.  And if my memory serves me correctly, I think she even bought the same exact car as her friend!  There were many other obvious signs that this woman had extreme issues with jealousy and envy.  She couldn’t stand the thought of being outdone.  On a more than likely related note, she was very backbiting and gossipy.  You could tell she wasn’t a very happy person.

Jealousy left unchecked can lead to a whole array of harmful emotions, including hatred, which God says is the same as murder.  (Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. ~ 1 John 3:15)  These are very strong words that should be very concerning to us if we have hatred and jealousy in our hearts towards others.  We must be very careful to nip feelings of jealousy in the bud before they turn into something very serious.  How do we do this?

The first step in changing any bad character trait is realization.  It’s no different with  jealousy.  If we have even the slightest stirring of uneasiness or dislike towards another person who possesses something that we want and don’t have, then chances are there’s an element of jealousy operating – especially if that person has never done anything to us. We must realize that we have a problem in this area and ask God to help us in overcoming it.  This can be hard for some people because their pride won’t let them discern what’s really going on.  They would never admit that they have jealousy because in reality, being jealous of someone else is to think in one’s mind that they are better than we are in some way.

Now we know that no person is better or more valuable than any other person.  We are all made of flesh and blood from the dust of the ground, and we are all made in God’s image.  Therefore, we’re all the same in His sight.  However, our minds can replay hurtful words or deeply engrained thoughts we may have built up over the years that tell us that we’re not as good as others. This, of course, is not true.  But again, pride will keep us from seeing jealousy as the root of the problem.  It takes a certain degree of humbleness to be able to acknowledge this.  And to reiterate another very important point, if we have even the slightest stirring of uneasiness or dislike towards another person who possesses something that we want and don’t have, that’s a clue that we have jealousy in our hearts towards that person – whether we want to admit it or not.

Another step to overcoming jealousy is thankfulness.  We should be thankful for everything that we have been blessed with.  Everybody on earth has special God-given talents, gifts, attributes, and the like, which make us unique individuals.  There are some things that we may have which others desire.  However, most people will not be jealous of us having those things.  They’ll either be happy for us or won’t really think much about it at all.

Truly loving other people as we are commanded is yet another step that will help rid our hearts of jealousy.  Jesus says, “you are my disciples if you have love one for another” (John 13:35)  If we go around having jealousy and envy towards others, is that really showing that we are disciples of Christ?  Is that really love?   In 1 Corinthians 13:4-5we are told what genuine love is not – and envy is at the top of the list!  That’s definitely something to ponder.

So we see that jealousy – when it involves envy – is a sin.  If left to fester, it can cause bitterness, resentment, and hatred towards our fellow man.  And it ultimately hinders our relationship with God.  Remember the words of David in Psalm 66:18, which are, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”

I pray this article has been a blessing to anyone who may be struggling with jealousy.  May God help us all to be thankful for what He has given us and to be genuinely happy for others.  Amen.


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This is an amazing performance by a young boy from Brazil singing Agnus Dei.  (Goosebumps!!!) 

Be blessed!

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To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that…

…the prisoner was you.

                                                                                                              ~ Louis Shmedes

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All of us have been hurt by someone at some time in our lives.  It may have been a friend or family member, a significant other, or a complete stranger.  It’s understandable that we would hold feelings of unforgiveness towards those who have betrayed our trust.  But while the person who hurt us goes on with their lives, we are giving them permission to continue hurting us by replaying their trespass against us over and over in our minds and continuing to harbor feelings of bitterness and resentment towards them.

Studies have shown that prolonged negative emotions such as unforgiveness actually create chemical reactions in the body which, over time, can cause sickness and disease.  These intense emotions cause increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, increased perspiration, as well as a host of other physiological changes.  (Read about it here.)

Not only does unforgiveness wreak havoc on us physiologically, it also hinders our spiritual relationship with God.  How many of us have said “The Lord’s Prayer” as modeled by Jesus in Matthew 6:9-13?  It’s a very powerful prayer to recite.  However, if we notice in Verse 12, it says,And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”  So basically when we say this, we’re asking God to forgive us “as” or “the same way” that we forgive others.  This should make us think twice the next time we pray this prayer.  We may want to examine ourselves and make sure we have no bitter feelings towards anyone.

Also of note, a few verses later in Matthew 6:14-15, Jesus adds, For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”  So if we don’t forgive others, then God the Father will not forgive us.  What a sobering thought!

So what exactly is involved in the act of forgiving someone?  Does this mean we condone what they’ve done to us?  Absolutely not!  What it does mean, though, is that we let go of the bitterness and resentment that we have against them.  Even if the offense was great, God can help us to let go of it and forgive.  He commands this of us, so He will make a way for us to accomplish it.

Also, forgiving doesn’t mean that we should blindly trust the person again who has wronged us.  We should proceed with caution – especially if they have not changed their behavior and may still have the propensity to continue in whatever act that caused us to lose trust in them.  Remember, God also commands us to be “wise as serpents but harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)  And because every situation is different, we need to pray about each one.  God will have to reveal to us the right way to handle each person who has offended us – even after we’ve forgiven them.

So we see that unforgiveness is a state of mind that keeps us in bondage – not only physically and emotionally, but also spiritually.  We must choose to forgive others – if not for their sakes, then for our own overall well-being.

Just something to think about…

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 1The LORD reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof.

 2Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.

 3A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about.

 4His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled.

 5The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.

 6The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory.

 7Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods.

 8Zion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Judah rejoiced because of thy judgments, O LORD.

 9For thou, LORD, art high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods.

 10Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.

 11Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.

 12Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.

                                                                                  ~ Psalm 97

 

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I posted a link to this video in a reply I wrote to an atheist’s comment on my latest “Something to Think About” article.  It’s such a cool video that I wanted to share it with everyone who may not have read the comment.  I really don’t know how anyone could not at least question their belief in evolution after watching this? 

Comments are welcome!  Enjoy!

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A single moment of understanding can flood a whole life with meaning.

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Have you ever heard the story of The Ugly Duckling?  It’s about a little “duckling” who was hatched in a farmyard along with other ducklings.  However, he was quite different than the rest and was horribly picked on and ostracized.  He eventually ran away and suffered months and months of very heartbreaking rejection everywhere he went.  He finally came across a flock of swans and much to his amazement – they accepted him!  While swimming with these lovely birds, he looked at this own reflection in the water and discovered that he looked just like them!  He had grown into a beautiful swan!  He was NEVER a duck, as he had believed for so long!

Some people believe that they, as humans, are nothing more than the result of a cosmic accident that happened billions of years ago; that our origins began in some primordial “soup” in which our distant ancestors just happened to sprout legs and crawl out of; and that there is absolutely no reason for our existence.  This belief is called “evolution” and it has caused a lot of confusion throughout the years.  It also makes our lives totally devoid of purpose.

How many of us have let this belief supersede our innate understanding that life could not possibly have come about by accident?  The complexity of every system in our bodies gives credence to this truth – especially since we now have the technology to peer into the very essence of a simple cell… which we now know is not simple at all. This technology was not available when these crude evolutionary theories came about.

It’s interesting that Charles Darwin, who is known as the father of evolution, always referred to evolution as a “theory.”  He never claimed it as fact, as some are doing today.  He even laid down a criterion for testing it in which he stated:

“If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find out no such case.” (The Origin of Species)

Darwin wrote this in 1859 – over 150 years before the scientific advancements of today.  Hence, there is absolutely no excuse for anyone to continue believing this way today.  We know better.  Even many scientists have denounced this theory.  But some choose to stubbornly ignore the facts. (Romans 1:19-22)

Just as the ugly duckling realized that he was not a duck at all but a beautiful swan, we need to realize that we are not just an accidental “thing” that crawled out of the slime billions of years ago.  We are human beings made in Gods image, whom He created for a purpose.  We just have to find out what that purpose is.  And God is the only one who can reveal it to us.  All we need to do is ask.  (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

Just something to think about…

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I know my Redeemer lives! I know my Redeemer lives!
Let all creation testify… let this life within me cry,
“I know my Redeemer lives!”

Happy Resurrection Sunday!!!

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