There is a family motto engraved in a stained glass window that says “Qui est invidet minor” – the one who envies another is the inferior.
It is very easy to envy others. We see what they have or don’t have, others lives seem nicer, easier, more blessed. We envy their children, partner or those who don’t have them, their wealth, house, health. Some of it is understandable, I play golf with someone who is 75, I would like to be that fit and well should I reach that age. I want my work to be as successful as others, not for my sake you understand but for the Kingdom’s! We look at others people’s lives and make assumptions. This is obviously dangerous as well as naive.
The psalmist is having some honest reflection about what he sees around him. Jealousy can be a two edged sword, jealous for something someone else has or jealous for God’s justice to reign. The psalmist is perhaps doing both, he is being honest in his heart and his faith.
What is a way forward within this temptation? One of the prayers and desires I have cultivated over the past few years has come out of reflections on praying for sick children and their families. Everybody naturally wants the child to get healed, get well and go home. But sometimes this does not happen. So I can pray for these things in faith but I can also pray for what I absolutely know God wants to give the family. What is this? I believe I can always pray for God’s peace, strength, and hope. What I pray for myself is to have God’s perspective on the situation. I need is to see the situation how God sees and understands it, perhaps this is a useful way of understanding what will happen when we have the mind of Christ.
The psalmist needs God’s perspective to help him make sense and correctly interpret what he himself and others are experiencing. To save ourselves being tempted to give up, judge, misinterpret, we can be in danger of sacrificing that which is most important to us, our integrity.
The psalmist finishes strongly
But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
to tell of all your works.
The Kingdom of God is the same, it is about righteousness, justice, purity, goodness, honesty in the face of temptation and failure, trusting in God for what we have and don’t have.
God of eternal values, give us your perspective, your point of view, your discernment on what we and others experience and of that which is of temporal or eternal value that this life has to offer. Amen.