Me, me, me. I, I, I. I’m the one who matters. I’m the one who’s important. Let’s focus on me!
That’s so annoying! We don’t like being around people who always focus on themselves. No, we want to be around people who will focus their attention on US! Because we’re the ones that should be focused on, right?
One person recently said that he was trying to do a comprehensive sermon on the topic of sin, and asked what he should include in it. One of the answers was, “All sin is self-centered. It’s all about me. It’s focused only on what I want. That’s why there’s an “i” in the middle of “sin”.”
And that’s absolutely true. We are all tempted when we are drawn away by our own desires and enticed. And when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin. And when sin is full grown, it brings forth death. (James 1:14-15).
Love is the opposite of sin. Love—true love—is selfless. It is focused on the needs of others. It is putting other people first. It’s true in every relationship. And it’s especially true in marriage.
We’ve looked at a couple things that love is. You’ll remember, “if you REALLY love me, you’d be patient with me,” and “If you REALLY love me, you’d be kind.”
Starting today, we’re going to look at some things that love ISN’T.
That is, these are things that will be noticeably absent from a great marriage. So, if you want to have a great marriage (you do, right?), read on:
Don’t be envious
Look at I Corinthians 13:4. Love is not envious (KJV) Love is not jealous (NASB).
These are two very similar ideas. Jealousy is feeling bitterness at others because of what they have. Envy is wanting what someone else has—their success, their money, their looks, their life, etc…
The Corinthians had a real problem with this. People were jealous—envious of other Christians who had supposedly “better” miraculous gifts. So, really, Paul’s using this opportunity to show them that when they’re envious, they’re not obeying the command to “love one another.”
But how does this fit in marriage?
After all, I don’t think a single one of you guys wishes you looked like your wife. And I know that not a one of you women wish that you had your husband’s looks.
But there is jealousy and envy in marriage ALL THE TIME.
The wife who stays home is envious of her husband because he is able to interact with real adults during the day. She’s jealous of the fact that he gets to go somewhere to work while she’s stuck at home. Some wives are jealous of the attention that their husbands get from others—he is praised for his accomplishments and she feels ignored by comparison. Many wives feel a resentment to their husband—a feeling of envy—because of these things.
On the other side, husbands can be envious of their wife because she gets to stay at home all day and do nothing. One man made it very clear that he’d love to trade places with his wife because she only had to take care of a couple kids, and meanwhile he had to do “real work.” Other men hear their wife get complimented, and they are bitter because she’s getting attention and they’re not.
It goes both ways.
You can’t be envious.
You have to be content with what you have (Hebrews 13:5). The basis of envy is that you aren’t content with what you already have. It’s having a poor self-image.
Hey, Jesus died for you. He thinks you’re pretty important. And for some reason, that’s not good enough for you? You still want more? You still want what someone else has?
It’s time to change your focus to what you HAVE instead of what you DON’T have. Instead of being jealous, wanting what your spouse supposedly has, be happy for them! If your spouse is getting complimented because they’ve lost weight, or they’ve gotten a promotion, or they’ve accomplished something, BE HAPPY for them!
Realize that the things you’re jealous of might not really be the way they seem. Oh, he gets to go to a job and interact with adult people every day. More likely, he’s going to a frustrating place and dealing with people who frequently don’t know how to do their job, and it is a place of immense stress.
Oh, she gets to stay home and do nothing all day except watch the kids. Yeah, if you think that, you need to get something called a “clue.” She’s home dealing with immature children who require constant supervision, and she’s deprived of any real intellectual interaction during that time.
If you want to have a great marriage, and one that is also pleasing to God (double bonus!), you need to kick envy out of the house.
-Bradley S. Cobb