On Monday, I discussed two wonderful relationship builders, patience and kindness. Today, I want to talk about three characteristics that are destructive to relationships…envy (jealousy), boasting, and pride. These three characteristics are prevalent in our world, and without realizing it, are integrated in our personal lives and our family as well. Once meshed the results are often ugliness, hurtfulness, and selfishness, with frequent disruptions and constant strife.
Scripture is blunt about how envy impacts us. James 3:14-16 forewarns us, “But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” James 4:2 declares, “And you are envious and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.” James could not be clearer. Get rid of envy! If not, your life and the life of others around you will be chaotic with constant turmoil and full of evil.
Then, there is “boasting” and “pride”. These two are all about me and mine making sure that others know how wonderful we are. Boasting and Pride are the antithesis of Jesus. The only scripture in which Jesus testifies about His own character is located in Matthew 11:29, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Gentle and humble are 180 degrees from boasting and pride. These verses could not be more explicit:
- Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.”
- 1 John 2:16, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father.”
- Philippians 2:3-5 tells each of us to, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.”
Envy, pride, and boasting are destructive to relationships. Galatians 2:20 declares, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” This verse declares that “I” died on the cross with Jesus. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” There is no room for envy, pride, and boasting in a crucified life. They must go.