"Have a good time, Carol, drive safely and call me when you get home from the reunion, okay?"
"Will do", she says, then we both say "Later" and hang up simultaneously...and before I could count to ten I was breaking the 10th Commandment. "Thou shalt not covet" (envy, want, crave, or desire)....anything that is thy neighbors. (Ex 20:17)
Of all the Ten Commandments that God gave Man via Moses on Mount Sinai, the 10th is the hardest for me to keep and the easiest for me to break. Envy just pops up unawares, out of the blue, and stealthily sneaks into my heart, tip-toes through my mind and stubbornly refuses to Let Go, Give It Up, or Go Away!
Carol, a life-long friend since high school, had called me from her home in Virginia to tell me she was going to Chattanooga, Tennessee to attend their family reunion. My immediate response was, "Oh, Carol, I'm so sorry, who passed away?"
"Nobody, silly, we just have a family reunion every few years, just to get the whole family together in one place for a day of uniting, fun, and chatting about old times, and meeting the new arrivals of grandchildren and the newly-weds and new in-laws."
"Oh, that's great, Carol, sounds like fun, but the only family get-togethers our family has ever had was funerals - so that's why the stupid question. Sorry".
"That's okay, I understand. Remember, friend, we've known each other for eons and have no secrets, right?" We both chuckled.
Truthfully, that wasn't the first time envy kicked in and took ahold of me; more like the umpteenth. Carol had four brothers and a sister, which included a set of brother/sister twins, so even way back in our high school years, that old 10th Commandment had given me trouble when I sized up her five siblings to my one and only brother. Yes, I had secretly (but not secret to God) coveted, wanted, desired, envied and craved a large and loving family of somebody elses'.
Our family reunions consisted of funerals for grandpa, mother and dad, which I attended, and other funerals for uncles, a sister-in-law, and two grandmothers that I was unable to attend. And I might add, these were NOT happy get-togethers as Carol described HER reunions to be; but instead they were sad, and sometimes downright contentious as to "Who would ride in which car, Who would sit where, and Who would get what?"
After a few minutes of entertaining myself at my own Pity Party, I bowed my head and repented:
"Heavenly Father, please forgive me for breaking the 10th Commandment with my greedy and envious thoughts. I guess my only excuse is that I'm only a piece of dust. And according to Your servant David, who wrote Psalms 103:13,14, (which I've underlined in bold red ink in my Bible)...You mercifully understand my plight."
"Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him; for he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.'
"Those are Your very words, Lord, and I'm sorry I unintentionally broke your commandment by slipping back into that dysfunctional piece of earthly sod from whence I came.
"It's hard for me to comprehend the fathomless love You have for our sinful, fallen world, and that You gave Your only begotten Son, Jesus, to come down to earth and He willingly died for my shortcomings, and was nailed to the Cross in my stead.
"I can't wait for the Family Reunion in Heaven when I can thank Him in person, and kiss His nail pierced hands that made it possible for me to attend as a genuine, bona fide child of God.
"And this I pray in His Holy, precious name, Amen."
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