“Love is patient, love is kind. Love envies not; love flaunts not itself and is not puffed up.” I Corinthians 13:4
Love is a big idea. It is so big that it could only come from God.
So love must me expressed in large yet simple terms.
Week one I summarized the big ideas of love being patient and kind this way – “Love gets grief and gives grace.”
We two I will sum up the negative traits of envy, boastfulness and arrogance in this phrase – “Love completes not competes”.
What do I mean by that?
Envy or jealousy is zealous to get what others have and to guard what it thinks others want to take.
Boastfulness throws a parade for itself! It flaunts and promotes itself above others.
Arrogance is the soil in which the seeds of envy and boasting grow and bear fruit.
A heart that harbors envy, boastfulness and arrogance has little room for love as great and pervasive as God’s love. Such attitudes lead you to compare and compete with others. You measure your self-worth and net worth in comparison to theirs. If you come out well in the comparison you will feel superior and if you don’t you will feel threatened. Take this story for example:
Two shopkeepers were bitter rivals. Their stores were directly across the street from each other, and they would spend each day keeping track of each other's business. If one got a customer, he would smile in triumph at his rival. One night an angel appeared to one of the shopkeepers in a dream and said, "I will give you anything you ask, but whatever you receive, your competitor will receive twice as much. Would you be rich? You can be very rich, but he will be twice as wealthy. Do you wish to live a long and healthy life? You can, but his life will be longer and healthier. What is your desire?" The man frowned, thought for a moment, and then said, "Here is my request: Strike me blind in one eye!"
Those are the attitudes of envy, boastfulness and arrogance in action. As you can see, there is nothing even remotely loving about them. When you allow these attitudes to remain unchecked and you choose not to deal with them you will end up in a similar state as this merchant. It never ends well for those who live to compete and not complete.
Envy, boasting and arrogance are written into our nature. It is what we have inherited from Adam and Eve. These were the attitudes that led them astray. This “unholy trinity” is the cause of the majority of sinful acts committed by those who have not discovered the “more excellent way”. The presence of these attitudes denotes the absence of God’s Perfect Love.
God called you and me to complete each other not to compete against each other. He offers us a love that can so radically change us that we will become as happy for the success and prosperity of others as we would be for our own success!
That’s hard! That’s a totally different spirit! It would take a miracle for that to happen!