God's word in today's world

Potential to change a life

As children we sang a song to our friends when they were spiteful: “Jealousy makes you nasty! Jealousy makes you nasty!” Of course, the other one didn’t take it well at all and soon we’d be rolling in the dust.

But actually, the song is so true. Jealousy does not make you a nice person. It starts in childhood. It seems to me that we all received this quality for free during the fall. Now take two babies sitting and playing. If one wants the other’s toy, he simply crawls closer and takes it. This makes the other burst into tears.

If I’m jealous of someone else’s possessions, I become unhappy because I don’t have them too. The unhappiness triggers an unfortunate emotion in me. This emotion comes between me and the other person and a dark cloud hangs over our relationship.

Like cancer, jealousy eats away at our relationship and before long the circumstances are so unpleasant that the relationship falls apart. That’s what jealousy does. It tears apart relationships. Jealousy causes stress, increases blood pressure, and can make your heart beat faster. All negative!

Peter is so right when he says: 1… Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk.

We received all these character traits at birth (as a result of the fall). Some to a greater extent than others. We should realize that this is our default and that we must do something about it.

We can’t just say this is how we’re made and leave it at that. We must make plans to eliminate it completely. Maybe we should create a simple rule for ourselves and say that if I can’t say something nice about someone, I should rather not say anything.

What good does it do to speak ill of others? Maybe I got rid of negative emotions, but now just transferred them to someone else. There are no winners here.

Let’s instead be happy for others who have more than us. Let’s share in their joy over what they’ve received. Let’s do it honestly, because that releases good hormones that make us feel better.

Let’s always try to turn a negative situation into a positive experience. Let’s see what we can learn and what we can do to change the situation. Then you and the other person both win.

In 2013, Peter sent me this remarkable sentence:

We often underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment or the smallest compassionate act, all with the potential to turn a life around.

You have the potential in you not to be jealous, but to be happy when others are happy. You can also shape your words beautifully and make a difference in other people’s lives. Let’s reverse the default. I know it’s hard work and not easy, but the potential is there to change a life!

1 Peter 2:1-8

Where are you slipping with being jealous?
Where do you slip up with the wrong words?
How can you change it into good potential?

Father, I must confess, I struggle with this many times. Help me to make plans to turn it into positive energy, so that I can make a difference instead. I ask this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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