About three years ago I decided I would try to curtail three faults that I felt were most undermining my relationship with God: being overly judgmental, envy, and jealousy.
Some strategies I have developed to counter being overly critical are to picture an actual beam weighing me down (Matthew 7:3), to remember things I like about the person, to say an Our Father (and apologize to God), or just admit to God I have to go there, just for a moment. The result is that I don’t hang out in that negative mindset for long periods of time like I used to.
I seldom engage in envy or jealousy anymore, and all because of an illumination I had one Sunday regarding “The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard” (Matthew 20:1-16). At that time I was renting a room, sleeping on the floor, very unhappy with my roommates, often in a woe-is-me state, and most definitely open to envy and jealousy. Then this “aha!” moment: We lead different lives because we each are here to learn different things to become one with God. To aid us in this process God disposes to us—as is His right, and as He sees fit, just like the landowner in the parable—different lives and challenges so that we have the necessary opportunities to learn those lessons and purify our spirits. Now when I feel envy or jealousy I try to remember this new knowledge: “Yes, God, I know so-and-so has different lessons to learn than I do,” and somehow the negative thoughts don’t linger like they used to.
I believe our lives on this earth are all about spirit; after all, the only thing we will be leaving this world with and carrying into the next is our spirit and, hopefully, a not too stained one.
– Margo Sanabria