There it is, her shiny, new Mini-Cooper in the parking spot closest to the employee entrance. I don’t know why it annoys me when SHE gets to work early – well in all honesty I do. I am jealous of her.
I feel the heavy cape of envy cover my shoulders.
Most days I can shake off the binding of the wrap if I remember the commandments: “Thou shalt not covet…”, or “Love thy neighbor…”, but just a few minutes ago, I had an argument with my husband about income, again – or lack of it. Reliving the moment, it’s as if the earth gives way beneath me and the financial hole we’re in becomes a crater. “God, where’s my help?”
I embrace the cape and wrap it tighter to cover the nakedness of my frustration and anger. I even put up the hood.
Peeking out from my blinded position all I can see is that SHE has a husband who retired wealthy from a productive career, and SHE doesn’t have to work. So, why is SHE here so early?
Inside that shroud of jealous judgment I throw my pity party. I think I am alone, but a silky voice purrs: “She only works so she can have 'play' money. The pittance you’re earning just throws a spoonful of dirt in the hole you have.”
SHE is one of those employees who can schmooze with the boss and charm co-workers to confide their deepest secrets. Even I succumb to her charisma, and remembering our talks, I am aware that I am hypocritical as well.
The velvety voice whispers in my mind: “She’s sickeningly sweet: everyone loves her. You should be their confidant, not her.”
I sink deeper into the folds of the duplicitous cape of envy, misery my comforter.
The smooth voice taunts: “She married a man old enough to be her daddy. He takes care of her. Your man is a recovering alcoholic. Who’s taking care of whom at your house?”
I feel clammy sitting in my car. The cape of green is beginning to bind too tight as if it has a life of its own. My stomach hurts. I don’t like how I feel or where this is going. I know SHE doesn’t deserve this narrow-minded dissertation.
Relentlessly the voice hisses: “She’s got money, pricey clothes, and expensive jewelry. She doesn’t have to work. Look at her wealth. Now look at yourself. Pitiful, isn’t it?”
I am not prepared for envy’s debilitating power today. My head feels ready to explode. I must get over this so I can function and do my job, or I’ll have to go home because I’m truly sick.
I plead with God, “Father! Have mercy on me. I don’t want this attack to continue. Send your grace to end it.”
Taking a cleansing breath, I feel the cloak loosen and the hood fall. I strain and listen.
The velvety voice is silent.
I exit my car. I am freed of the downward pull of covetousness. I take another steadying breath and on shaky legs, walk into the office.
I had succumbed to sin, but I realize I am rescued once again by God. My heart is humbled and grateful for His swift response. I know I’ll clash with envy another time in another battle, but I also know that there is One who gives support and strengthens me.
All I have to do is ask.
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