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Other’s happiness can be the occasion in which selfishness grows.
I read the text: “I just won an IPad.” My wife was attending a continuing education conference. Several drawings for giveaways were on the schedule—one of which was for an IPad. She barely looked at her ticket number—having never won anything. That’s when her neighbor said, “They are calling your number.” She had won the IPad. Loving technology better than she, I hoped her next text would read, “I’ll give it to you. I know how much you’ve wanted one.” But it didn’t. She kept it. Instead of rejoicing over her win, I nestled envy in my heart. She had what I wanted.
My wife’s excitement over her new toy was countered by my selfishness. Why hadn’t this happened to me? I used a computer and other tech tools twice as much as she did. I couldn’t rejoice because the green-eyed monster of envy was eating at my heart. She had what I wanted. And though she let me use her toy, it wasn’t mine.
If I’m to rejoice with others who are rejoicing, I must learn to be happy and content with what God gives me as well as when he gives it. He knows what I can handle before pride and selfishness begin creeping in. Someone will always have more than I do, but if I have what God desires me to have that’s all I need.
Rather than envying what others have—whether possessions or opportunities, I need to rejoice over what God is doing in other’s lives. He gives what aligns with his plans for their life, and he does the same for me.
A part of interacting with others also includes weeping when they weep. Entering into their circumstances. Attempting to feel what they’re feeling. Letting their hurts become mine. When I do this, I am loving my neighbor as I do myself.
What attitude do you need to change so you can rejoice with those who are rejoicing?
Prayer: God of love and light, teach us to rejoice with others and to be content with what You entrust to us.