Dealing with Envy
by: David Walls
It is a sad day when people stoop to kicking someone who is already down. Just ask Paul. Chained under house arrest, he becomes aware of some people who are attempting to inflict more pain in his life by promoting themselves at his expense.
Paul tells us they were motivated by “envy and rivalry.” This duo always speaks of relationship gone bad. At some point these preachers were “with” Paul, on his team, supportive. But not anymore. Now they are envious of Paul. “Envy” is a toxic term. It describes an aggressive behavior that seeks to harm another person by slander and gossip. When you link it to “rivalry,” which emphasizes division, disunity, and competition, you begin to detect an awful stench.
And remember, Paul is describing Christians. These are not atheists or doctrinal heretics. They are Christians who happen to be self-seeking opportunists, who are promoting themselves and their ministries at Paul’s expense. They were looking to be more popular than Paul, to gain prestige, attention, applause, and influence. And they were willing to hurt an already hurting friend in the process.
How much of what we do and say is fueled by envy and rivalry? Beware lest your service is simply a tool to gather more applause and prestige from others.