In Numbers 11, the children of Israel were about a year out from being delivered from slavery. They were passing through a wilderness, where God led them with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night and every morning provided manna for them to eat. Yet despite his miraculous provision, the Israelites still complained about their circumstances, and their complaining is a direct result of envy.
We have an angry society, don’t we? If you doubt it, just turn on the talk shows at night—any of them. The issues change by the day, but the anger doesn’t. People seem queued up and ready to be angry—in the classroom, at work, on Twitter, and (as always) on the freeway. Paul’s words in Ephesians seem timelier than ever.
People around us are suffering, often profoundly, usually silently. We should desire to be churches where people who are not OK can find Jesus in loving community. The road to healing from shame begins as we speak it. As you come out of the shadows and speak it, you’ll hear the voice of the Savior and Shepherd saying, “My daughter! My son!” And his declaration will begin to heal those wounds.
Isn’t it strange how addictive anxiety can be? It’s almost as if we sense that by devoting energy to anxiety we are somehow doing something about whatever we are worried about. But if you’ve struggled with anxiety at all, you know that on its own, anxiety only offers false solutions, false promises, and false predictions.
There are good ways and bad ways to deal with anger, and hindsight too often seems to be the key to knowing the difference. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t look back and wish they could take something back they said or did in anger. The best way to know the difference good and bad anger is to follow the example of Christ.
Envy surrounds us—and most of us don’t realize the deadly poison it is. We think of envy as a kind of petty jealousy that just comes from wanting a little more. But the Bible treats it as far more serious. It starts with discontentment with what we have and turns quickly into resentment toward others who have the thing that we want.