Monthly archives: September, 2015

Eyes Of Envy

Eyes of envy

As I sat down to write about envy this week, I seriously had to ask myself, “What is it about envy that makes it so unloving?” I realized that to properly understand the relationship between love and envy, understanding Paul’s purpose of writing must be grasped—it is the unity of the church and the Church. One could ask many questions at this point, including “why is the church’s unity so important?” or “Really? My envy affects the unity of the global Church?” The church’s unity is vital for the proclamation and spreading of the gospel. That is why love matters. And that truth gets us a little closer to why envy matters, why it’s so unloving, and why it affects the unity of the Church.

James (remember Jesus’ brother?) makes a solid case that envy’s root is pride, that is, our own selfish, pleasure-seeking desires. Envy causes divisions, fights, and wars because one is not satisfied, content, or, dare we say, thankful. There’s the key. Yes, envy is the antithesis of gratefulness.

Envy is the desire for more. If it is the desire for more for one’s own pleasure, then it is a logical (and spiritual) progression to conclude that envy is the desire to be first (Calvin). It cannot merely be the desire for more. Desire is not a source unto itself; desire is always connected to a point of origin. And the reality? The source will always be either God’s glory or your own, my own. Envy is the desire for more and the source is your selfishness and my selfishness. And love, agape love, cannot be about you and me. It is about them.

It would be too easy to simply address our materialism here. No, it’s much deeper than that.

To be clearer, envy is unloving because I am not joyful or grateful that someone else experiences a blessing and I don’t:
-They’re healed and I’m not. What’s my heart response?
-He is financially successful and I am not. What are my thoughts toward him?

-They have five kids and we are struggling to get pregnant. Do we cheer or isolate?
In another letter, Paul tells Christians to “give thanks in everything” (1 Th. 5:18). We like to quote that, but verse 15 often gets left out, which says, “always seek after that which is good for one another.” Give sincere thanks for the good in others’ lives and the power of envy will diminish.

Tim Kutcher


Kill Them With Kindness

 

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“Be kind one to another– Ephesians 4:32”. As children, most of us heard that phrase ring from our parent’s lips at least once a day; especially, when it came to arguing with our siblings. When they quoted the entire verse, we knew that it was getting really serious and it was time to listen up.

So, I’m wondering just when along the way did we lose sight of the importance of this quality? As adults, there’s no one standing there in our difficult situations quoting verses to us anymore. We’re grown-ups; yet, we still have a hard time getting this one down.

Garrett, my seven-year-old son, reminded me not too long ago that I was not being kind. Ever have those moments when your kids are correcting you…and they’re right? He stopped me in my tracks and changed the direction of our conflict at the time. Talk about being humbled.

I began to take notice of all the times when I had a chance to be kind and  didn’t go there; at least, not as much as I could have. The times when I could have let someone in front of me while I was driving in thick traffic; the times when I stopped at “hello” and didn’t go beyond that with the cashier at our local grocery market; the times when I called our insurance company, armed with notes and facts, ready to let them have it when it wasn’t that specific person’s fault my bill was wrong. The time I could have taken some food to that homeless man that stands for hours on the corner of the interstate exit ramp.

There are so many everyday moments when we have a choice if we are going to be kind. I do get it wrong often when I’m focusing to much on me and not on Him; but when I am intentionally getting into the Word of God and focusing on my daily responses to others, I get it right often because the Holy Spirit is able to show Christ’s love through me. This is truly the key to unlocking your potential to kill others with kindness. In our pursuit of becoming more like Christ, showing genuine kindness to others is one of the greatest ways to live out the demand of love as it is described in I Corinthians 13.

As my Dad used to always say, “It doesn’t cost a dime to be kind.”

Leslee Bell


Patience Is A Virtue

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“Bet You Can’t Eat Just One!” Is this true? Can someone really not just eat one Lay’s potato chip? This has been one of Lay’s recent advertising slogans and I’m guessing it works to some extent. Some. I mean, who would really just eat one if their marketing department decided instead on, “You should only eat one.” So, maybe they aren’t trying to convince us to eat more; they are merely expressing the reality of the situation.

Love’s definition is kind of like that. We focus on the demand of patience found in love this week, but can you really only show patience without demonstrating at least one if not several of the other demands? This question can really be asked of any of the 14 demands found in 1 Corinthians 13. For example, if someone is patient with me, they are also showing kindness, humility, gentleness, and a form of perseverance.

I can’t say that one demand is more important than another. My wife and I are celebrating 7 years of marriage this week. This significant event in our relationship would not have come to pass if it weren’t for her ongoing patience with me over the years. The Greek word for “patient” in 1 Corinthians 13, surprisingly, is not used many times. Paul does use it in 1 Thessalonians, when he writes, “We urge you, brothers and sisters, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”  Isn’t it far easier to dismiss the unruly, become discouraged by the fainthearted, and show indifference toward the weak? Over these past 7 years, I have certainly been unruly, fainthearted, and weak at times in our marriage. I am so very grateful my wife loves the Lord enough to admonish, encourage, and stand by my side through all of life’s hills and valleys. By consistently showing me patience, she is truly modeling Christ’s love as defined in 1 Corinthians 13.

Tim Kutcher