“Thou Shalt Not Throw Shade”: Resisting The Spirit of Envy

Words To Live By

Throughout my life I’ve always been someone who celebrates others and their success. I love seeing my friends thrive and succeed. It makes me happy. As we get older, however, at different times this can be more of a challenge. That little coveting voice inside of us can rear its ugly head and easily manifest itself in the form of what we so popularly call “throwing shade”.

Most of the time we aren’t even aware that we’re doing it. We just start making opinions and judgements about what someone else is doing. Regardless of whether or not that person has worked hard, we throw our two cents about how deserving they are of it.

As a believer this can be more difficult. God calls us not to judge and not to be envious of what others have in comparison to what we may or may not have.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”-Exodus 20:17 NIV

If God was speaking these words to live by to us present day millennials he might have said something more along the lines of, “Thou shalt not throw Shade”.

A Moment of Your Time

I like to adopt a mentality of “This is their moment. Celebrate their moment,” meaning it’s not always about me; Other people can have a moment too. Whether or not they deserve it is irrelevant. None of us deserve it. Based on God’s standards we don’t deserve anything and what we did deserve, for the sinful nature within us, God was gracious enough to spare us from.

A few months ago I heard a sermon from Havilah Cunnington entitled “Comparison: The Doorway to Envy” and I loved the way she so very articulately addressed coveting. It truly resonated with me and I’ve encorporated it into my life ever since then. She talked about the dangers of comparing our lives to other peoples’, saying it leads to envy and results in a spirit of strife.

“And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there.”-1 Cor. 7:17 MSG

Havilah uses an illustration of everyday being a $14 dollar day and special moments of favor from God are $20 dollar moments. She states, “Most of our life is a $14 dollar day where we diligently serve him.”

She also addresses the fact that it’s not enough for each of us to be able to receive favor in our $20 dollar moment. We Must also have the ability to celebrate others in their moment of great blessing. Someone else has had a bunch of $14 dollar days and right now it’s their time to shine. So celebrate it with them and for them. Don’t try to steal their shine with all the shade you’re throwing.

It’s Not About You

But if we can’t celebrate people in their $20 dollar moment then it’s wrong. It doesn’t matter how hard you’ve been working, if it’s not fair or if in your opinion that person doesn’t work as hard as you; It doesn’t matter. God blessed them with that moment, be happy for them, because they’ve also had a bunch of regular and difficult $14 dollar days.

And maybe, just maybe, if you sincerely and whole heartedly celebrate others in their $20 dollar moments, then there will be people around to celebrate with you when your time comes. Trust me, you will want them there for your moment. Otherwise it’s very lonely.

What’s even more important to remember is that regardless of who’s moment it is, it’s not about any of us. It’s about God. Everything about our time of great favor should always point back to the Lord. He is the only reason why you can shine so bright. Enjoy the blessing that God gives you, but give credit where credit is due. God gets all the glory.

So keep working hard, keep praying and doing what God is asking of you for each and every $14 dollar day. Be patient. Your moment will come.

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