James 3:16 (NIV)
For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
The name "Benedict Arnold" is synonymous with "traitor." But he was actually a loyal citizen of what was to become the United States, a gallant soldier and a five-star general. Wounded twice in battle, he was highly respected for his military leadership. He even enjoyed the friendship of George Washington.
But during the Revolutionary War, Arnold saw five subordinates promoted over him, and the blow to his esteem was more than he could manage. The injury to his pride was far greater than those physical injuries he sustained in battle. So he laid plans to get revenge.
In 1780, he attempted to betray vital West Point to the British. He later moved to England and was paid a sum of money to compensate for his property loss, but he was never fully accepted in British society. He eventually returned to trading and died a mostly unsuccessful and unhappy man. His downfall was not greed -- his problem was rather one of jealousy.
Do you know who is the most difficult person to love? It is easy to love friends and not too difficult to love those less fortunate than ourselves. It certainly isn't easy loving enemies, but sometimes the person most difficult to love is the one who is MORE fortunate than we are. The one who receives the promotion we deserved. The one who gets the recognition we desired, the honor we sought or the affections of the lover we had hoped to win. It is easy to resent those who seem to be more fortunate.
As someone once said, "Let go, or get dragged. Unless you let things go, you should be prepared to have that thing drag you around until you do let it go." Even envy. Let it go or get dragged. Besides, if you ever want to grab onto something good, you'll need a free hand.
Dear Lord, help us to let go and not get dragged. We pray that we would not get caught in jealousy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.