You’ve most likely heard “love is patient, love is kind.” But do you know what comes next? The next line in that verse says, “Love does not envy.” The Message Bible translates it this way: “Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.” And The Passion Translation says “It refuses to be jealous when blessings come to someone else.”
I love those expanded, passionate translations. Love doesn’t even want what it doesn’t have. And it refuses to be jealous when blessings come to someone else. Refuses. I can appreciate the idea of refusing to be jealous and not even desiring what I don’t already have. Love that. But if I’m honest, I’m not living it. I fairly often wish that I could be something else, someone else, somewhere else. Sometimes I even wish I had the same blessing as someone else. And that has created discontent in my own life. Love doesn’t look like that. And I want to be love for those around me.
It’s not that I’m not happy for people who receive blessings. I truly am. But sometimes, many times, I want what they have too. I think most noticeably this happens with my physical appearance. I see someone “blessed” with a thin, tight little body and I want it too. Nevermind that they probably have to work hard for it, and I’m not actually doing that same work. I see them, and I wish I looked like that too.
Or I want all the cute outfits that go with that beautiful body. I even have a Pinterest board titled “The Style I Wish I Had.” It used to be titled “The Style I Wish I Had And Could Afford.” What?!? Talk about a double dose of envy. Jealous of both style and money. I didn’t even realize it when I gave it that title. I may as well have titled it “I Covet This. . .”
Don’t even get me started on “The Bucket List Family.” Not only do I want to be them, but my children all want to be their children too. If you aren’t familiar with them, they are an amazing family of five that at one time sold everything they had to travel the world and have adventures. All over the world. Check them out on YouTube. They eat breakfast with giraffes and swim with whales. Who wouldn’t want that?
But that is not who God created me to be. That is not His plan for our family. I think God would love for me to see the world through the eyes of the Bucket List Family’s incredible videos, and maybe even make a bucket list of our own, but not wish to be them. Not to be envious or jealous.
Because love does not envy. And no good comes from being jealous of someone else’s blessings. I’m not saying that we can’t look at what other people do and use that to set some goals for ourselves. But goal setting and envious jealousy look very different. Love, real love, lets us be happy for one another without being jealous. It lets us celebrate one another, our looks, our accomplishments, our relationships, our adventures, without covetousness.
The Bible tells us “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” ~1 Timothy 6:6-7 If we can be content with what God has provided, be it family, finances, appearance, location, possessions, or whatever, then we can truly love one another without envy or jealousy, refusing to be anything but happy for the blessings of those around us.
PS – My Pinterest board is now titled “Cute Outfits” Period. I can look at it for ideas of how to put my clothes together in creative ways, how to dress for events and vacations, but I don’t want to encourage jealousy in any way in my life. And that feels like love.