Thursday, May 15, 2008
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If you ever spend any time near the ocean, I'll bet you've got some photos of seagulls. They just soar around above the surf, you know, almost as if they're posing for some of us amateur photographers! Now, seagulls are impressive until they get together. I remember sitting on the rocks along the Maine coast trying to feed some corn chips to this seagull - see, they're into junk food too - and as soon as one gull started to go for the food, another one would land and start yelling at him. Then they were joined by a third gull - they got pretty nasty contesting who's going to get this little corn chip! Now, that's standard operating procedure for seagulls. Like the time we were enjoying this picturesque New England harbor. The highest point was this weathervane and one gull would land on it - sometimes he'd even trumpet the fact that he was number one. That lasted about ten seconds until another gull came plowing into him, knocked him off, pretty soon he's followed by another gull who knocked number two off, so he could have his ten minutes on top! Scientists have even put a red band on a seagull to see how the other gulls would react. They literally pecked him to death because he had something they didn't have. Nice birds, huh?
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Seagull Syndrome."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Matthew 27, and it comes from the period of the arrest and the trial just before the crucifixion of our Lord. A very revealing statement says this - it gives the startling reason behind the execution of the Son of God. Matthew 27:18, "Pilate knew that it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him." Did you hear that little four letter word, envy? They were jealous of Jesus. More people were listening to Him than to them, so they conspired to have Jesus Christ put to death.
Envy. Not a sin you probably think of immediately as being that bad, huh? But in a sense it was envy that killed our Savior. It was essentially envy that caused Cain to kill his brother Abel, because Abel got a better response from God than he did. It was envy that made King Saul try to impale young David with a javelin. Envy is no harmless little sin, it's ugly, it's destructive, it leads to hurt, it leads to hate, but it's almost never identified, never condemned. And because it's the silent sin, it may have entered your heart. It may be poisoning your relationship with people and even with God. Today God wanted to hold up a mirror so you could maybe see the jealousy in your soul. Envy is the seagull sin, that darkness that creeps in when we see someone who has something we don't have. You see it always starts with comparing. If we didn't compare ourselves with other people we wouldn't envy.
Maybe you're struggling right now with bad feelings toward someone because you've been comparing. To be brutally honest, you're jealous of someone else's success, or someone else's appearance, or their position, their marriage, or someone else's things. You might even be jealous of someone else's ministry - they're on a high spot and you want to be there. Well, that jealousy is big time sin. It insults God who is giving you what He wants you to have, when He wants you to have it. His plan for you is not like His plan for anyone else, and as the seagulls have shown me, envy can make you attack or diminish the one you're jealous of. Your heart's getting darker toward that person, your mouth is getting more negative, your feelings are getting more venomous. Isn't it time to call your feelings what they are? It's the sin of envy. Repent of those feelings to your Savior who was sent to be crucified because of envy.
Jealousy makes otherwise beautiful seagulls ugly. It does the same to you and me. Hey, you'll fly a lot higher without envy dragging you down!