Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Christian Lady and Envy

                                  The Visitors

Hello Dear Ladies,

There have been frequent requests in my inbox to address the problem of envy.
Envy is the unenviable quality of resenting someone's accomplishments, talent and
prosperity, abilities, strengths, or desiring it for themselves (without working for it).

I do love your comments, so please give me some feedback on this post and 
tell me what your experience is, or what some of your solutions are.

A Country Greeting

By: Nicky Boehme Item #: 12815430

From the time we were children, our parents taught us not to allow envy to be any
part of our lives.  To think about what others were doing or what others had was a
waste of time that could be spent finding and developing your own abilities.

When tempted to envy a family or friend because of a gift they received or some
good fortune, we were told that if you examine your life, you will see you have
some advantages and things the other person does not have.  

One lady I know whose mother had died and left her possessions to her divide up 
between the women of the family, found that she had been denied the privilege of
choosing the things in her mother's estate that she treasured the most.  One of the
other relatives had gone to the house earlier than the agreed time, and taken what
she wanted and divided up the rest to distribute to the others, rather than wait to find
 out what was fair to the others.

A Pathway of Color

By: Nicky Boehme Item #: 12815978

True to her excellent home training, the lady sized up the situation and noted that her sisters
and cousins had not had very smooth lives; they were full of sorrow and sickness, 
personal loss, material loss and financial instability. She mentally relinquished all
the sentimental things these women had taken without consulting with her. She looked at her
own life and counted it rich, because she had a long, happy marriage, loving children, 
and had lived in the same house for many years.  

Because of the instability in the lives of some of these relatives, they could not keep these 
things for long.  My friend inherited furniture and household items that  she never thought she
would own. Her relatives gave them to her whenever they
had to move or when they lost interest in keeping them. She got all of her mothers
things that she treasured. Had she allowed envy to absorb her, the outcome might have
been vastly different.

Autumn Overtures

By: Nicky Boehme Item #: 12815619

Dealing With Personal Envy:

My friends, we know that the Bible shows the tragic consequences of envy from the many 
examples recorded there. The New Testament, a book for this new age, warns against
envy in several places, including Titus 3:3, I Timothy 6:3-4, and James 5:5.  

When you envy someone, it is a waste of time and adversely affects your health. 
I cannot emphasize strongly enough the necessity of ridding your life of real envy.
This is not the same as telling a friend that you envy her the sweet nature she has or
the kind of good cook and housekeeper she is. That is a harmless statement. What I 
am speaking of is the kind of envy that results in resentment and wishing someone would

On the other hand, we should always rejoice when others succeed in something
that is good, because that success will always benefit you and others in some 
way. Someone's success has a way of making life bright for others. It is always
uplifting to see someone's progress in life and it is depressing to see someone
on a downward spiral in life. There is therefore no reason to be envious of 
anyone who is happy or doing well. 

Springtime Hideaway

By: Nicky Boehme Item #: 12813532

Dealing With Other's Envy

While you may be like the lady who was taught from childhood how to avoid envy,
not everyone shares these good values.

 Even when most of us do not consider ourselves particularly "successful" , 
envious people can cause disturbance and
make life miserable.  They can simply feel petulant because you are happy. They may
dislike the fact you are content or have a little talent. 

When I was first confronted with envy many years ago, I was grieved that someone
had something against me and I made every attempt to reconcile and make it
right with the envious person. Eventually I had to admit that there are some
people who let envy blind them so much that they lose their ability to reason
and to think logically.  Nothing I could say or do would appease them. 

One source of envy apparently came from hospitality. Mindful of their Christian
duty to share hospitality and share their homes with others, some ladies extended
generosity, even including gifts, to other ladies.  There were those who became envious
during their visit and spread around that she had more money than they did or was living
better than others.  They did not take into consideration that this lady was opening
the home to them and making herself available for them each week. She could have
pursued her own selfish interests or made headway in things she was behind in, but 
instead, put these ladies first.  If this lady had not been generous, the envious
ones would not be sitting there enjoying her hospitality!  Envious people cut off and destroy
the things they need!

Envious people never take the generosity of their hostess
into consideration. There they sit in the comfort of her home, eating her food and drinking
her tea, and still feel envious.    The proper thing to do when feeling envy is to find out
how you can duplicate her example and be a better person, and build a good reputation 
for yourself by extending hospitality to women who are lonely or need fellowship.

 It can really bother you that someone is envious and you can start
 feeling so guilty that you cannot
enjoy your life anymore.  Their remarks can get into your mind and you think 
about it all day long, never really focusing on the current moment and never
able to smile again and be happy. It is like a death sentence.

 It is important not to let thoughts of an envious person rule your mind. Think
 on things that are lovely and good.  It might be beneficial to look up all 
the Bible references on the word "mind" to see what God has to say about the 
care of the mind.  Just as too much dreary talk and bad news is harmful to the 
health of your mind, dwelling on the comments of an envious person can destroy
your mind.  We are supposed to keep our minds "sound." (2 Timothy 1:7)

There is always the envious person who wants what you have.  The person may 
devise schemes to deal you out of something you have earned, to get rid of your
influence, to deprive you of your sense of well-being. They may want your house.
They may want to divide the loyalties of  your family. They may think you are too well-off. 

 Envious people will not believe the truth. They will believe a lie more easily. 
Once a lie is planted in their minds
they cling to it.  What is alarming about this is the way it has spread into our
culture, a culture that once was admired for maturity and optimism and a can-do 
attitude. Our country is now brought low by petty envying and lack of logic.

As Christian ladies, we can lift up our families and churches by rising above the 
trivial talk and instead praise what is good. Dealing with an envious person can 
be a real challenge, as the envious person wants others to think you are undeserving, 
critical and conceited. The envious person needs to be corrected, educated and limited
as to the amount of socializing he or she has with you and your family.

Christian ladies can find refuge from envy by immersing themselves in the work of the home that
God has given them. Doing an excellent work at home, keeping the family cared for and protected, is the best example to an envious person. Let the sting of envy be a trigger to do more excellently in
life. "My courage always rises with every attempt to intimidate me," said Jane Austen in "Pride and Prejudice."  Envious people want to intimidate you and make you feel subservient to them. But we know that we must submit to and obey God, rather than man. (Acts 5:29)  The next time someone sends a stinging envy remark, use it as a signal to do something lovely for yourself and  your family or a friend.

The following poem expresses the need to keep going when someone tries to debilitate or demoralize you.  I particularly like the phrase in one of the stanza's: "There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done, There are thousands to prophesy failure;"  Is not this so true?  One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to talk of your dreams and ambitions  within the hearing of an envious
person because he or she will immediately tell you it cannot be done. Usually an envious person is good at debate and will quickly contradict anything you say. ( Teach your children to stop answering debate and contradictory conversation, lest they learn their ways. )  Do not allow the envious to stop you from living! 

It Couldn’t Be Done

By Edgar A. Guest

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done,
    But, he with a chuckle replied
That "maybe it couldn’t," but he would be one
    Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
    On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
    That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

Somebody scoffed: "Oh, you’ll never do that;
    At least no one has done it";
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
    And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
    Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
    That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
    There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
    The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle it in with a bit of a grin,
    Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
    That "couldn’t be done," and you’ll do it.

 Water Lilies, by Alfred Glendenning

Some people will give up living their good dreams and even their spiritual desires because they
are afraid of making someone envious. They do not want to be the cause of envy in someone else's life, so they live in a boring, mediocre way, not pursuing any interests or talents, not going anywhere or improving their lives in any way. They may be able to afford to travel or build a new house, but they are too intimidated by the naysayers and the envious.  It reminds me of a poem my mother read to us when we were young, called "He Made No Mistakes."  It is not about envy,
but it shows the reaction many of us have to the critics and the envious. 


He made no mistakes, took no wrong road,
No, never fumbled the ball.
He never went down ‘neath the weight of a load,
He simply did…NOTHING AT ALL!!! 

He lost no hard fight in defense of the right;
Never bled with his back to the wall.
He never felt faint in his climb to the light,
He simply did…NOTHING AT ALL!!! 

So death came nigh for life slips by,
And he feared the judgment hall.
When they asked him why, he said with a sigh, 
“I simply did…NOTHING AT ALL.” 

God will pardon your mistakes, my friend,
And regard with pity your fall;
But the one big sin that He will not mend
Is simply to do…NOTHING AT ALL. 


Laura Jeanne said...

This was an interesting post which I enjoyed reading, Lydia. When I saw it was about envy I thought it would be all about how I myself should not be envious, but instead you mostly talked about how to deal with others who are envious, which is helpful and needed advice for me. I loved the poems too.

Personally, this is a highly relevant issue, since I have dealt with an envious person all my life in my close family. This person has *always* squashed any idea I had as soon as I had it, always told me my dreams were impossible, always kept me down any way she could and seemed terrified that I might surpass her in any way. Now that I am grown I realize that this person feels so bad about herself that she can't bear to see anyone do better at anything than she has, which is very sad. But it is her own problem to deal with and I should certainly never let it hold me back from following my dreams. Thank you for the reminder.

Andrea R said...

Oh how I love this!

It is easy for people to see "all that others have", and then envy and/or judge. First, they do not know the complete picture. They assume! They don't know what that man, woman or husband/wife team have been through to be where they are. They don't have contentment in their own lives, so they must pick apart the lives of others in envious pride.

The advent of social media has taken this to a disgusting level, it seems. People are not going to post that they spoke harshly to their husbands and repented, they aren't going to post that they are struggling with anger or with selfishness. They aren't going to post that they are human. They are going to post all the money they spend on trips, or things they buy, or what people do for them. They are going to create a false reality of perfection, that will cause the discontent to envy.

Being content with what we have is a huge blessing. Pray for our needs, and God will meet them. Don't assume the road of others who seem blessed was easy or without trouble!

Julie said...

Lovely post. As I'm sure you know, envy and lies is not a line of thinking that comes from God, but rather from Satan. It is best to be rid of this as quickly as possible. It otherwise occupies our minds and hearts and we cannot be used by God in that condition.

Mary said...

This was a good article. Few people discuss the subject of envy. I have been on both sides. As a younger woman, I envied people who had larger, nicer homes than I did. One day, I mentioned my envy to a male Christian friend, he told me, "Maybe God thinks you don't need them." (The things I was envying. Somehow, that spoke to me and I did not have as bad an envy problem after that. And I started realizing what I DID have.

I have also been on the other side of envy, where other peoples' envying me made no sense whatsoever. I have been in the category of which you spoke, too, where I no longer invite people to my home because of their envy and caustic comments.

Thanks for the article.

A. Law said...

Very good thoughts, Lydia.
There are so many ways envy can come into our lives if we are not careful.
I love the paintings especially the one with the Mother Hen and chicks.
Thank you for your encouragement.
Aline Law

Lydia said...

Ellie Rae,

The cruelest think people do is tell someone they are doing better than other people and should stop it. I have heard that comment since the 1960's and don't know where it is coming from. It seems unChristian!

Anonymous said...

I think envy is a natural and normal human emotion that we all may feel from time to time. It is what we actually do with this feeling that makes all the difference. I know that at times I have been envious of different things that other women have. Sometimes they are silly little things, that are completely nonsensical; and sometimes it feels like a deeper envy over a personal quality that a woman possesses that I wish I had/had more of. Either way, I deal with these feelings within myself and never say or do anything unkind. It is a feeling I use for my own personal growth. To be perfectly honest, I wish I never felt it, and so many times it just doesn't make sense since my own life is very blessed is so many ways. But I guess it's just another human emotion, like joy, anger, sadness, happiness, fear, etc. And it's what we do with the emotion that counts.


Finding Joy said...

I sometimes feel envy when my friends go overseas for holidays as it isn't something I have ever do (and would love too), I need to gentle remind myself that it is wrong to feel this way and be excited for them for having this opportunity. My time will come with God believes it is right.