We often see people who are achieving much in their lives. God has been good to them in so many ways. We ourselves would like to have been successful in these matters. However, our successes seem so few, and our troubles seem so many.
Perhaps their success has been in business, and they have become rich. Perhaps they have a large family of healthy children, all of whom behave well. Perhaps they are strong people when we seem weak. If we are church leaders, perhaps their church is larger and better than ours.
It seems only natural for us, like Cain (Genesis 4:2-7), to think that God should have shown that kindness to us, too. Like Absalom (2 Samuel 15:1-14), we desire what God has not given to us. We become jealous (Exodus 20:17); if we are not careful, we can become bitter and angry against God himself.
It is much better if our joy does not depend on our own circumstances. We can be happy because God has shown such kindness to someone else. We can be glad about the good things that other people are achieving.
When we are pleased at other people’s successes, then we will have a different attitude towards other people’s troubles. When we truly love other people, we will feel their pain (Mark 12:31; 1 Corinthians 12:26; 2 Corinthians 11:29). We will not merely sympathise with them, like Job’s friends, whose words did not match their actions (Job 2:11-13; Job 19:1-3). Instead, in our thoughts, our prayers and our actions, we will show the true love that Christians should show (Matthew 25:31-46; 1 Corinthians chapter 13; James 1:27; James 2:1-17; 1 John 3:11-17).
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© 2018, Keith Simons.