February 3
Don't forget the parenthesis
For reading & meditation: Isaiah 11:1-9
"He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes '" (v.3)

Yesterday we said that envy is born out of two things: ignorance and making wrong comparisons. Having seen how a wrong comparison can produce envy, we focus now on ignorance. How can ignorance give rise to envy? Far too often our judgments of people are based only on what we see, and we fail to take into account other things that may be going on in their lives. Years ago, A.C. Gardiner wrote a little essay on Lord Simon and spoke at length of his many successes. In one place he described him as "prancing down a rose-strewn path to a shining goal". Gardiner thought that success, in the measure Lord Simon had experienced it, was free of all sorrow. Then he remembered some of the bitter disappointments that Lord Simon had faced and so he added in parenthesis: "I speak here only of his public career." Many of us forget the parenthesis. We see simply the surface of our neighbours' lives and know nothing of their secret sorrows. If we saw beneath the surface of those lives we tend to envy - the hidden hurts, the emptiness, the heartaches, the guilt and the fears - then I doubt whether the emotion of envy would ever rise within us. But even if there were no secret sorrows we would still have no reason to envy others. God is the rightful Lord of all life: "It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves" (Psa. 100:3, NKJ). Let us keep our eyes fixed only on Christ and resist all other attempts at comparison. Practise comparing yourself with Him, and only good will come out of it.
 
Blessed Lord Jesus, I see how easily the spirit of envy can filch away my peace and happiness. Uproot this rank weed in my heart and teach me to compare myself with none other but You. For Your own dear Name's sake. Amen.
 
For further study:
1. What is it not wise to do?
2. What is the right way to make comparisons?