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Monday, April 12, 2010

Day 103: Jealousy, Anger and Fear

Today's Reading: 1 Samuel 18-20, Psalm 11, 59

Imagine how Saul felt.

First his son thinks so highly of David that he honored him greatly. Then, "the people" make over David; "young women" begin lauding David and comparing him favorably over and against Saul. Finally, Saul's own daughter falls madly in love with this charismatic, handsome young man.

Saul reads the writing on the wall. David is not only more popular than Saul, David's fame is abundant and intoxicating to everyone David meets.

Saul is jealous and angry.

He wants the kudos and the glory. He doesn't want to share his position and popularity with anyone. He has struggled so hard to keep the people on his side, and along comes a young man who seems to have everything going for him.

Saul is mad. Saul is so mad, so angry, he wants to kill--murder--David and anyone who stands up for David.

But at the heart of all this jealousy and anger is fear.

Fear is the root.

Saul no longer has the clout. Saul no longer has God's favor. Saul is scared to death!

But Saul cannot acknowledge his fear, so his fear comes out in jealousy and anger.

One of the things I have learned by observing and counseling people for many, many years is this. The root of anger is fear. The root of jealousy is fear. The root of bullying and manipulation is fear. The root of a person's need to hate or control is fear.

Fear is at the center of sin. It wears many masks but at its heart it presents the same challenges and brokenness.

It is interesting to note what angels and other heavenly being say when they greet created humans.

"Do not fear."

"Fear not."

If fear were out of the equation, imagine how much better we could love one another and God. If we were truly secure in our relationship with God, we would not fear at all.

So here's a suggestion.

The next time someone is angry with you, instead of playing the tit for tat game, ask yourself, "what are they afraid of?"

The next time you feel anger or jealousy, bitterness or hate, step back from the emotion and try to figure out the underlying fear.

It usually is deeply related to how others will view you, or some sort of other threat.

It might open your eyes to your own brokenness in just the very spot God has been wanting to heal for a long time.

Let God, then, be your refuge and your strength, instead of your anger, jealousy, bitterness or hate.

Can you imagine how freeing that might be?

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