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How envy blocked God’s glory, a true confession

12/15/2014

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.  You shall not set your desire on your neighbor’s house or land, his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkeys, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”  (Deut 5:21)

 Today I share my sin, after first seeking forgiveness from God.  I do so, because this time of sin has taught me something new about God, myself, and our relationship.

The above scripture is part of God’s 10 Commandments (hate that title, in my opinion, it should be “10 steps to a full, joy and loved filled life”).  “Covet” just means envy, wishing something someone else has is ours (instead or as well).  I had a full-blown case of this, and believe me, I could feel the full evil ugliness of it.

One thing I have learned about God is that when we are actively seeking him and studying his word, he never slams our sins in our faces.  I guess that is because we have a willingness to change when we become aware of our sin, whereas those not actively seeking him, may need a real dramatic slap in the face as an attention getter.

At any rate, today God lovingly brought me to face the sin.  Below is my sharing, as best I can with words, the gentle love of God as he brings a sinner to repentance and forgiveness.

I started my morning with a time of worship, in which I spent time thinking about how small I am in the vast creation, and how unbelievably fantastic it is to be known and loved so much by our God, our creator.  As I momentarily basked in the glow of that love, the ugliness of my un-repented sin began to gain focus in my thoughts.

You see, my sister-in-law, who had been living with us for the last several years, recently told me that she will be able to move out early next year.  In the process of doing so, she explained that all her bills but one are paid, and it should be paid early next year.  She explained so much about her financial situation and how rosy it was, that I became green with envy.  I even said to my husband, now we need to go live with her so we can get our debts paid.

When her life turned upside down and she had no place to go, my husband had suggested that she come and live with us until she was back on her feet again. Our intention was to provide her a place to live while she dug out of the burden of debt that she was buried under.

That goal had been achieved. She even has a savings account. Although I was happy for her, that happiness was clouded greatly by envy, black, ugly envy.  I cringe as I think about it.

During her time with us my husband had lost his job, fought off cancer, and is still out of work. It has been tough, and we have used up our own financial reserves. The burden of our own debt weighed me down, and the thought of her freedom from it had me in the grips of jealousy, when I should have been so happy for her.

I have been struggling with this for days, knowing it was wrong, but unable to move beyond it.  Then this morning, even as I was in the midst of this ugly sin, God, once again filled me with a sense of his amazing love for me, a speck of his creation, I opened up to Him about my ugly sin.

I recognized and acknowledged, before God, the ugliness I felt in my envy.  I had known from the very moment the first flame of envy enveloped me that I was off track.  I had felt dirty. I had felt uncomfortable.  I knew it was wrong, but I felt it was a bit of righteous anger, not so much envy.  I fought back against the sense of wrongness I felt, but it all led to this moment, this confession, this forgiveness, this grander understanding.

You see, I had to confess it and set it aside.  It felt, at first, impossible to be glad for my sister-in-law in the midst of our daily struggle to make it.  However, confess I did, and I sought God’s forgiveness.  I wanted to genuinely feel happy for her, but the envy was stripping that away.

God not only forgave me, but he revealed something to me in the process.  You see, as I sought God’s forgiveness, I acknowledged my fears over our own finances.  Then I was led to confess my fears, since that meant I was not trusting God to provide for our needs.  I did so.

It was then, as I put my trust in God to help us with our finances, that God showed me, we had been His provision for my sister-in-law.  You see, God was taking care of her through us.  We were his ambassadors in her life, his hands and feet on the ground, so to speak.

My envy, then, was not only over the debt free life she has achieved, but also over God’s provision for her.  In other words, I was worrying about my debt riddled life, not trusting in God to provide, at the same time God was demonstrating his provision in my sister-in-law’s life.  Wow!  No wonder I felt sick and ugly in my envy.

My envy was essentially stealing glory from God in two ways.  First I failed to acknowledge the greatness of what he had done for her, and I failed to be humbly honored that he chose to use us for this purpose.

Daily I pray for God to use me in some way.  God had been using us, all this time, and I thought it was all about OUR goodness, and OUR kindness.

It was not about us at all. Our part was only that we had willing hearts to help someone on the down and out.  All the rest was God using that willingness to serve his glorious purpose in my sister-in-law’s life.

Wow!  Did I miss the mark on this one!

End result of this time with God is that I know he has forgiven me.  I have a new fresh perspective on the my sister-in-law’s situation, and can genuinely be happy for her now.  More importantly, he has reminded me that his ways are greater than our ways, his thoughts are greater than our thoughts.  And that my husband and I are in his thoughts, leaving us no reason to worry.

 Isaiah 55:8 NIV
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.

 How true and how wonderful in that truth!

Dear Holy One,
Thank you for this morning, the refreshment of cleansing and renewal.  I am a better person at this moment than I was when I woke up, and you, oh God, have done this for me. Thank you for not rejecting me and leaving me to my sin.  Thank you for your gentle loving correction and forgiveness.
You are worthy of all my praise and thanks, both now and forever.

Amen

Blessings, my friend.

M.

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