“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”
That’s a pretty strong statement. Just that word “rots” evokes such an image doesn’t it? And other translations use language that’s just as harsh: “jealousy is like a cancer in the bones” (NLT), or “envy can eat you up” (CEV).
Unfortunately, I can attest to the truth of this idea. Early on in life I became very good at comparing myself against other people, always coming up short. My thought pattern then led me to feelings of jealousy and envy towards others. Trying to ignore or dismiss those feelings didn’t get rid of them. They settled in each time, chipping away at my self-esteem.
But I’m convinced now, that my physical body suffered as well as my heart. Letting jealousy into my spirit brought a whole host of other negative emotions, like resentment, frustration and even anger. And it’s been proven scientifically that any of those can hurt our bodies in any number of ways.
It’s important to realize that beyond being bad for us, letting envy and jealousy take hold is sinful. When we covet something someone else has or does, it is showing a lack of contentment and trust in God. Sin of any kind is destructive to us and our relationship with our Lord.
King David wrote about this idea. In Psalm 32, he gives us a vivid description of how being separated from God affected his whole being:
“When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
David goes on in this song to give us the way out, and it starts with confession. His agony turns to rejoicing because he knows that when he turns back to God the relationship will be restored – he will be restored. The next step is repenting – making a decision to turn from those sinful feelings and thoughts.
Following David’s example will bring us to a place of healing and even better, renewal of heart, mind and body.
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