Today I want to share a story from my childhood that I remembered today.
It is about a time when I chose to let jealousy consume me and in turn it caused me to respond in negative ways as I allowed my emotions to rationalize and dictate to me that she deserved being beat up.
It's a story I am not proud of, but one that needs to be told.
Hello. I'm Jeff. My wife and I host message of Hope. Message of Hope wants to be your weekly inspirational, motivational and non judgmental friends to help you through your week as we share battle truth and life experiences to let you know you're not alone. Let's join Sandra to see what message of hope she has today.
I'm Sondra, your host. And today I wanted to share a story with you about my childhood that I was remembering yesterday. So let's jump right in. I grew up in a subdivision on the outskirts of our city. Our church of about 100 and 60 regular members was at the entrance to our subdivision, and many in the congregation were families that actually lived in the subdivision. It was a much simpler time I grew up with, I guess you could say stay at home, Mom. But honestly, back then, most all the mothers stayed at home and the men were the breadwinners. My mom would get up early, fix my dad is breakfast and pack his lunch and put it in his black metal lunchbox. Get that thermostat filled with coffee and get him out the door to work. then she would wake us up for school, feed us breakfast and I mean not cereal but hearty breakfast like gravy and biscuits and eggs and bacon and toast and such and get us on the bus. Then she would get herself a cup of coffee, and she and a few of our neighbor ladies would gather at each other's houses and share a cup of coffee and talk together for a while before they get down to business, cleaning their homes and preparing their dinners for their families, for our return from school and work. I remember seeing our mother go out the door in her robe and was sponge rollers in her hair, no less tow. Walk across the street early in the morning to talk with her friends a time or two. But now that I said it, it kind of sounds like an episode from a TV show. But that was her time. Her downtime and we were a small, close knit group of families. Our meals were always cooked, and our house was always very clean, and any time we needed our mom, we knew right where to find her. When we got home from school. We were allowed to roam the subdivision pretty much, but that never meant to get into any trouble. We were too afraid of what our parents might do if we did. Plus, we had all the neighbors watching out for us, too, and they would certainly tell on us if they saw us do anything. Matter of fact, before they towed on us, they would actually reprimand us theirselves as if they were our own parents before they even shared it with our true parents. I always felt like my mom and my dad had eyes and ears everywhere because of the way things were then. And I think that was a good thing, probably an atmosphere that would benefit our youngsters today and help to keep them accountable and out of some mischief. But anyway, most of my childhood days were spent riding bikes playing Barbies are walking to the park in the back of our subdivision to swing, throw Frisbee, play Bach's hockey or just hang out with my friends. But you knew you were to be home by dark or whatever other time your mother or father told you to be. We were in church every Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday. Actually, any time the church doors were open, we were there. We were involved in vacation Bible school. I was in girls auxiliary and sang in the choir. My mother was in charge of the nursery and was active in the women's group, and my father was a deacon and involved in the men's group. They were both very heavily involved in church, and they made sure that we were, too. My life was a simple life. My life was a happy life, that is, until a new family moved in across the street and a few houses up. They were an older couple, and they both worked at jobs outside their home, and they had a daughter my age. We quickly became friends and played together. Ah, lot. She intrigued me as a friend because she was so very different from me. I was a girly girl, and I like Barbies and dress up. And she was a tomboy and like to build forts and do things boys would normally do. This expanded my boundaries in the games that we would play and gave me some insight into things that boys light. But I usually only joined in her boys skins because I knew if I wanted her to play Barbies or ride bikes with me, that meant sometimes we would have to play. What's she like to play? But honestly, I never really grew to like building forts and such. But I remember being kind of mesmerized by her day to day life because she was home alone so much of the time, and that was completely foreign to me. I always had people around me and very strict rules. Don't get me wrong. The rules never bothered me. They were just my life, and I didn't give it any thought until they moved in. And I saw that other people do things differently. She was a good girl and never got into any trouble. It was just different anyway. We were really good friends. There was just one problem. It seemed that if I would get something new soon, she'd have to have that Item two, and that kind of started bugging me and then my parents began to include her in meals or activities that we were doing. In a way, I was glad to have someone there to play with, you know, a friend. But it also bothered me a little. After all, these were my parents, not hers. I managed to work past these feelings and figured my parents just wanted to include her. That is, until one day my dad was taking me the baby of five to go hang out with him on our family farm land. And I had been so looking forward to spending this time alone with just me and my dad. The guests want my friend went to him and asked if she could go with us. And he said yes, that made my blood boil. This was my father. She needed to go ask her own dad to go do something instead of coming between me and my dad and dividing his attention. That would have been all mine. Worse yet, I could not say anything to my dad about it, for fear that he'd be let down by my negativity and maybe even spank me for daring to question his authority to tell her Yes, she could go with us. So I played pretty on the outside, but inside I was very aggravated. Who did she think she waas? That was my father. She had one of her own that she needed to go hang out with and leave mine alone. Over time, the tension had built up in me, and we got into an argument over something completely silly. I don't even remember what, but it doesn't really matter. All I knew is I wanted to beat her up. And it wasn't long before we exchange some not so nice words and made a time after school to fight in my front yard, no less. We met and we've rumbled. I was biting and pulling hair until she pulled me down and got me in what she called a so cold that her Navy brother and taught her I couldn't breathe. At the time, I thought I might die right there in my own yard until suddenly, out of nowhere, there's my mom pulling her off of me. My friend got sent home and I got a lecture about my behavior and how disappointed my parents were in me. But I still couldn't bring myself to tell my parents the real reason why this had happened. Her mother showed up at our door when she got home from work that evening with my friend by her side, she was fussing at my mom as showing her the bite marks and the bruises that I had put on her daughter. But surprisingly, my mom defended me and said, Well, if I hadn't got out the door when I had my daughter might have died because your daughter was choking her so hard she couldn't breathe. I was going to just let him fight it out until I saw that So you could just stop your fussing right now because they're both to blame. And both mothers agreed to end the debate right there. They hugged and they parted on good terms. We weren't allowed to play for a few days, and it gave me time to reflect and realize how my thinking had allowed me to get to the breaking point with her and my heart began to soften to the fact that she just wanted to go somewhere and do something, not still my dad. So before long we were playing again. But I was always very aware if she was in close proximity to my mom or dad, I guess, to guard what was mine or to ensure that it remained all my mind. Oh, my. When I thought about this time from my childhood, one word came to mind jealous, and I remember I had read in the Bible about God being jealous, too. So I looked that up. There are several scriptures, but I'll give a couple of examples in Exodus 34 14 it reads, for Thou shalt worship no other God for the Lord whose name is jealous is a jealous God. And in a home, one to God is jealous. And the Lord revenge is the Lord. Revenge is and is furious. The Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserved a threat for his enemies. I don't believe that our top of human emotions are in God's character, but the Bible is explaining to us in terms that we can understand and relate to. For instance, second Corinthians 11 to says, for I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy, for I have exposed, which means to marry you tow one husband that I might present you as a chaste, which means unmarried or innocent virgin to Christ. So it's not negative thinking like mind toward my childhood friend or a bad mood or because God is insecure, it all like the reasons that we as humans get jealous. I believe the Scriptures air showing us believers are bound to God in a covenant relationship in the same way that a marriage binds one person to the other to give our exclusive, which means on Lee or unique, personal, private or special to give our exclusive devotion and worship to God and to God alone. Well, let's look at what the Bible teaches us to do about jealousy. Matthew, 20 to 36 to 39 says Jesus was asked Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law. And Jesus said unto them, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind, this is the first and great commandment, and the second is like into it. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Well, we aren't jealous of ourselves, are we? No. We feel that we are deserving of everything we have, and more so if we're loving our neighbor as our sales sounds like, we should be treating them pretty nice right now. Let's look at? How do we know if we're loving Second John 14 through six says I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy Children walking in truth as we have received a commandment from the father. And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee but that which we had from the beginning that we love one another. And this is love that we walk after his commandments. And this is the commandment that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it to me. That is saying that if we're walking in his commands were loving others as he instructed, we're not out to get them right, because one of the commandments is to love others as much as we love ourselves. After remembering this, I had to ask God to forgive me for my jealousy of my childhood friend. Even as a child. Deep down I knew that she meant no harm and hanging out with me and my parents. But I chose to let jealousy consume me an intern. It caused me to respond in a negative way as I allowed my emotions to rationalize and dictate to me that she deserved to be beaten up. I wasn't loving my neighbors myself, even though I was great friends with this neighbor. I share this story today because as I filtered this memory through what I'm learning in God's work, I see how we can so quickly become offended even when like in my story, we know the heart of that person and we actually like them. It seems if we feel our territory is threatened, we make excuses toe act out and to do things we normally would not do in our anger at the time. Nothing will stop us, no amount of reason. Not until we have lashed out. Then with a little time and right thinking, we see how wrong we actually were in our choices and we end up wishing that we had handled things differently. My story was one that ends on a good note as my friend and I are still good friends to this day, and that childhood lesson kept me from ever physically fighting with anyone else in my life. So I am blessed that this lesson came early in life and I pray that it had no monumental or lasting affects in my prayer over this episode is that anyone who listens has a seed planted in their heart to do better than I did at loving their neighbor as theirselves. That it might come to memory to prevent lashing out against others and instead encourage prayer and confession to God, giving him the problem and trusting him to work it out for you. This, in turn, might prevent you from harming someone else physically or with words from feeling regret, from possibly serving jail time for what you did in response to that jealousy and from ultimately having to answer to God for your actions, he tells us in Romans 12 19. My friends don't try to punish anyone who does wrong to you wait for God to punish them With his anger in the scriptures, The Lord says, I am the one who punishes. I will pay people back, so we have to let go of the feeling that we have to set things right ourselves and allow God to do that for us. I know is I'm looking back over my life and I'm doing some soul searching. I'm discovering that many times it wasn't so much what other people did where are currently doing to me, but rather insecurities that I have of my own or an area. I felt that I was weakened, and what I was trying to do was prevent that from being exposed. That was what was actually causing me to fill the anger or the jealousy. Many times the person we're upset with may be completely unaware of this vulnerability We feel thus our anger at them is completely displaced. Bottom line, What's that old saying? The buck stops here. We have a choice, a decision to make in each instance of any jealousy we face. And we also have the ultimate responsibility for that choice. I want to encourage you to mark this chapter in your Bible so that you're ready when you have times of weakness and being tempted to lash out against another to pray this prayer instead. I believe it will help you to make the right choice. It's from Psalm 27 it reads, Lord, you are my light and my savior. So why should I be afraid of anyone? The Lord is where my life is safe. So I will be afraid of no one Evil people might attack me. They might try to destroy my body. Yes, my enemies might attack me and try to destroy me. But they will stumble and fall. Even if an army surrounds me. I will not be afraid. Even if people attack me in war, I will trust in the Lord. I ask only one thing from the Lord. This is what I want most. Let me live in the Lord's house. All my life enjoying the Lord's beauty and spending time in his palace. He will protect me. When I'm in danger, he will hide me in his tent. He will take me up to his place of safety. If he will help me defeat the enemies around me, I will offer sacrifices in his tent with shouts of joy. I will sing and play songs to honor the Lord Lord, hear my voice. Be kind and answer me. My heart told me to come to you, Lord. So I am coming to ask for your help. Don't turn away from me. Don't be angry with your servant. You are the only one who can help me. My God! Don't leave me all alone. You are my savior. Even if my mother and father leave me, the Lord will take me in. I have enemies, Lord. So teach me your ways. Show me the right way to live. My enemies have attacked me. They have told lies about me and have tried to hurt me. But I really believe that I will see the Lord's goodness before I die. Wait for the Lord's help. Be strong and brave and wait for the Lord's help. A man we pray this episode helps you as you wait for the Lord's help. As I wrap appear today I encourage you to go to our website at M s, G o f h o p e dot com. And on the podcast tab, you will find Episode 35 where you can re listen to this podcast and find the references for the scriptures we read together today so that you can study them for yourself and make any adjustments according to what God alone lays on your specific card. And as always, we thank you for listening to our podcast and for helping us to spread the good news of Jesus Christ by liking and sharing it with your friends. Now, as I log off, I want to bless you with a prayer given to the sons of Aaron. Ready? Let's pray The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace until next time she's alone.