Our minds behave and the gears turn and jealously slips through the cogs, causing a hitch, yet we press on, ignoring the clanking sound it makes. Thought patterns play out and judgement sneaks in and we shove it to the corner, without ever truly making it feel unwelcome. Instead of confronting the jealousy head on and choosing to face it and forcing it to become love, we just keep scrolling. Pushing it out of mind with some form of another negative thought to take it's place. We press on, character flaw after character flaw, tripping us up again and again, and yet we gloss over them every time.
"I mean don't get me wrong, I love him/her, but ______", when in reality what we speak of is anything but love. But we slap that sticker on the beginning of our sentences to make us feel better. These disclaimers, claiming love and that "we truly care for them, BUT-" it's like the water in the watercolor painting we're working on, where the water doesn't really change the color or the tone, it just makes the paint seem less harsh on the paper. Claiming love and then following it up with words of discouragement or gossip or judgement isn't love at all. Love doesn't have a "but". Which means we need to face the reality that we're slandering our brothers and sisters and friends under this umbrella of love that doesn't exist. Remove that umbrella and you've got some pretty nasty truth to deal with.
But what if we really did take each thought captive? What if we came face to face with our lack of love and adjusted our hearts to match our good intentions? What if we refused to let the poison come out of our mouths? Say we refused to keep scrolling until we dealt with the jealousy issues in our own heart? What if we took a moment and prayed for that person and chose to be filled with joy for them and filled with thankfulness instead?
It's extremely hard to choose silence instead of letting poisonous talk escape our lips. It's almost as if you can feel the painful way it burns in your mouth, just dying to be set free. But recognizing this physical agony as a resistance to sin is part of what following Christ is all about. It goes against our very nature to swallow it and stay silent. It requires a small sacrifice. But the reward of that sacrifice is the absolute beauty that grace brings to our lives and to our relationships. Grace makes everything beautiful. Even the things that don't deserve grace. Because nobody deserves grace. If we deserved it, it wouldn't be grace, right? So what if we held our tongues just once? And then just once again after that? What if we continuously chose joy instead of jealousy? What if we realized we have the power to change how we think and how our own thoughts effect us? And in turn how we treat other people?
We've gotten used to the sound of the gears in our heads scraping together, trying to fit into place amidst gunky thoughts that are causing rust and hindering peaceful function. We don't realize that we have the choice to choose joy and forgive the people who have hurt us. We don't realize that the sound of a peaceful mind is a much more beautiful sound. But if we start confronting the issues in our hearts and in our thoughts, we'll be so much more able to have a little grace for others and speak kindness instead.
Jealously will fade when you make the decision to be thankful with where you're at and with who God has made you to be. And you'll learn to not accentuate other people's imperfections when you realize you have your own to speak of.
I'm not saying I've mastered any of this. I'm saying we all have problems and that Jesus is the answer. But we've got to keep consciously choosing Jesus and changing our patterns of thinking. I just want to encourage you to be mindful of your mind. To keep yourself in check and realize that negativity hurts you more than it hurts anyone else. Immerse yourself in God's word and act on it.
Look for opportunities today to turn negativity into grace. Wether for yourself or for someone else.
“Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”
1 Peter 4:8
“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,”
2 Corinthians 10:5
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”