Ever Felt Envious?
‘Are you envious because I am generous?’ (Matthew 20:15)
There is a shop in my town where they know me by name, say hello cheerily as I enter, and treat me really nicely. They make me feel important! But one day, I noticed that the assistants were acting like this with other people too. My reaction? I felt cheated! Why? Because I wanted to be the only one who received special treatment! At that moment, I had forgotten the meaning of grace.
Actually, all of us can feel like this at times when God treats others just like us. Well, treating them just like us, we can just about bear; it’s when he starts to treat them in ways that seem better than the way he treats us that it gets really hard! (Go on! – be honest! – you must have felt like this at times!)
But how unreasonable it is of us to complain at how God treats others. He can treat us however he wants: he is, after all, God! So who are we to question him? As Paul put it, ‘But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? … Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?’ (Romans 9:20-21)
God is not unfair to any of us; for if he treated any of us on the basis of what is fair, the only outcome would be that all of us would be condemned to hell! But in his mercy, God does not give us what we deserve (which is judgment); rather, in his grace he gives us more than we could ever deserve (forgiveness!).
Grace is the free gift of God, given freely, as God chooses, to those who deserve the opposite. So, don’t focus on the grace that he has been giving to others – that only leads to jealousy; but rather focus on the grace that he has promised is yours today.
Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple. (Job 5:2)
Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont
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