25
Aug
08

Light Green with Envy

OK, since I’ve already “fessed up” about the 6th commandment, 7th commandment and 8th commandment in earlier posts the past couple weeks, why not come clean about some potential envy? OK, I know that envy is technically one of the “Seven Deadly Sins” but it plays pretty directly to the 10th commandment:

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house and you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.

By the way, if you have any confusion as to why I have the above two items as one commandment, that’s because that’s the way the Jews and most of the Protestants do it; the Catholics and Lutherans actually split this up into the 9th and 10th commandments, as they consider the “I am the Lord your God and you shall have no other gods before me, and You shall not make for yourself an idol” stuff to be one commandment instead of two. (You can find out more about that at Wikipedia, though)

But back to the coveting/envy thing.

To covet something, I think that usually you first have to envy your “neighbor” having that house, or ox or property or spouse. Or Wii console gaming system. Or new Volvo.

And I find myself wondering, am I being covetous and envious about something. I mean, I know I can be covetous and envious in general—we all do that crap—but I have a particular concern.

And by “something,” I mean something pretty broad, which is a comfortable living.

I see others around me in the same socioecomic circles who near as I can tell are doing better than Mrs. Blue and I, but I’m not sure why. Mind you, I don’t begrduge them what they have, really, in terms of income or, in many cases, family support to pay off $10,000 credit card bills and things like that.

It isn’t even that we lack support. My dad has been of immense help in lean times lately, but the help he offers only keeps us from crashing and burning. We don’t move ahead. And so many of the people I see around me are either moving ahead, albeit slowly, or they are simply staying afloat, as we are.

It’s the latter group that ticks me off, really. And here’s why: You see, many of the people I know in the latter group could be moving ahead. They don’t have to be treading water. With the help they have and their ability to earn money potentially, they could be on an upward climb toward having savings and being debt-free.

For Mrs. Blue and I, it’s a constant battle to stay ahead of the next crisis and salt something away. Often, we don’t manage to do either. We can’t get ahead right now, even with both of us working, because our respective client loads aren’t where we need them to be in our respective freelance lines of work, and we can’t get decent office-based jobs where we’re at that would provide a regular salary. So, one of our biggest challenges is that we never have our tax money put away, because there’s always some car repair or some medical visit or something else that eats away at the money.

And yet we know people who have one spouse virtually staying at home, a spouse that has the capability of doing work on a part-time or full-time basis, mind you. And they tread water therefore because they choose to. They have the capability to rise above, but don’t take it.

And so I find myself wondering: When I look at these people, am I envious that they can work less and tread water because they have help from family? Whereas I work too hard and sink.

Or am I offended? Offended because they talk about how close to the line they are and what they sacrifice to make ends meet, when they have opportunities that they are squandering that could move them ahead, while I sit here feeling guilty that I can’t do more to move my family ahead because of lack of time and resources.

And really, is being offended any better than being covetous and envious? Probably not.

Just a vent, folks, just a vent. And I know that what I really need to do more is thank God that I have been given the blessings to not drown in my stormy financial seas. But still, it’s rough. Feel free to tell me if (and where) I’m just being wrong-headed. I’m sure I need to be slapped for something based on this post…

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9 Responses to “Light Green with Envy”


  1. 2 Deacon Blue
    August 26, 2008 at 1:05 am

    Well, I guess I DID ask for a slap in the face, eh?

    😉

  2. August 26, 2008 at 5:34 am

    Deacon Blue, no slap in the face here. I’m impressed with your candor, and your willingness to put yourself out there. I like that.

    As a child of God, and a student of the Christ, your continual benediction is: “Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.”

    While in prayer and meditation tonight, I heard these words: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house….”

    This statement puzzled me, because it just didn’t fit me. I’m not coveting my neighbor’s house. But I understand why now, after seeing your new blog entry.

    If I might say, gently, if you’re struggling to make ends meet, it’s more likely that you have conflicts around money.

    On another blog entry, you had this to say about money:

    “If you make your focus the pursuit of wealth, you cannot focus on God. Plain and simple.”

    “We can gain wealth; we can even become truly wealthy. But we cannot do it by wanting to be rich or desiring to have riches or we will lose sight of what really matters: The things of heaven and of the spirit.”

    “How many times have we seen major televangelists with huge audiences and wealth end up going into all sorts of excesses, whether financial, sexual, behavioral or otherwise?”

    If you think about it, I’m sure you will find additional beliefs where the struggle between God and money, between a spiritual life and a material life, clash.

    You’re seeking first the Kingdom God, but the added-to-you things are eluding you. That doesn’t have to be: there shouldn’t be a conflict here.

    You’re deserving wealth as readily as the next person–trust God to give it to you.

    And the scripture you cited in the other entry can be a little complex:

    “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (King James version)

    It’s not the loving of money that’s so bad, so much as placing your trust in money as a replacement for God. Consider the following:

    Ҧ And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

    “And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!”

    I don’t think that that is your problem–money is not replacing God in your life. What’s needed, I believe, is a clear understanding that as a child of God, All that God, your Father, has is yours. And by knowing, too, that’s He willing to give it to you as the need arises.

    Knowing that God is the provider, and will provide abundantly, will resolve the conflict.
    “Divine Love always has met, and always will meet, every human need.”

    Namaste

  3. 4 Mrs Blue
    August 26, 2008 at 7:36 am

    Its ok love, that you put our business out for all to see. LOL Anyway I rarely come over to comment but I really felt there was some truth in First Domino’s comment. We can discuss later.

  4. 5 Deacon Blue
    August 26, 2008 at 10:50 am

    All right, let’s get to everyone here:

    @Chris:
    BTW, I wasn’t irritated…I hope the winky face makes that clear. But at the same time, I want everyone to know that it isn’t that I fail to understand that I am blessed compared to most people in the world. One of my irritations in writing this post are people my wife and I come into contact with who actually use food pantries or get public housing assistance or otherwise take resources from people who are truly in need. I’ve personalized this a bit for this post in relation to our own circumstances, but there are people who choose to “live lean” and don’t have to and not only have to prattle on about all the sacrifices they make but then they also use agencies and resources that are meant for people who don’t have the ability to make ends meet. Watching people make lifestyle decisions to be broke when they don’t have to be really irks me because they do so at the expense of people truly in dire need and they make a mockery of people who are trying to make ends meet in the middle class and failing.

    @First Domino:
    Thanks for the thoughts. Of course, it’s not really money I’m chasing after. I joke about wanting a winning lotto ticket (who doesn’t want one?) but in all honesty, I don’t need to be well off. What I really want to do is be out from under all the financial crap that has heaped up on my family. That being said, I know I need to lean on God and Jesus and be willing to be patient. But I still find myself wondering at times, “Is there something else I could be doing that I’m not?”

    @Mrs. Blue:

    Hey, honey. Nice to see you. Of course, as well you know, I fell far short of putting out all of our business. I’m not THAT forthcoming 😉 😛 However, should my true identity become public knowledge one day, I’ll be glad to excise this little post from the blogging record. 🙂

  5. August 26, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Interesting topic. My family is currently a one income family. My wife stays home with my son and we’re close to the line, but we’re not doing bad. I save some money, pay my bills and have a little money left over for entertainment. But, with another youngin’ on the way, I have been worrying a little more.

    Sometimes people let their spouses stay home because they believe caring for their children is worth the monetary trade off. Other times, people may want their spouses to work but lack the ability to motivate them to do so. I’ve learned that it’s really hard to judge another man’s situation from the outside looking in. Sometimes I covet the stuff that a second income would provide, but I also wonder about the tradeoff. Anyway, just some ramblings.

  6. 7 Deacon Blue
    August 26, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Oh, I agree, Big Man. Don’t get me wrong.

    Mrs. Blue stayed home the entire first year of Little Girl Blue’s life.

    When someone can make it work, I have no problems with a stay-at-home parent.

    But what irks me are the people, again, who milk the system that was designed to help the truly poor when the more responsible thing would be to get some income. Or who choose to stay at home and then complain about their circumstances and lack of support, even when family is helping them or the other spouse is break his/her ass to bring home money. I complain about my situation, true, but I am very grateful we have roof over head, food in fridge, etc. and I don’t take help from my family for granted, which I have seen others do.

    Also, what irks me the MOST are stay-at-home parents who choose not to work and say it’s because they need to constantly be with the child, yet they make no attempt to do any real home-based work and somehow not only find time to use the food pantries and public health services they don’t really need but ALSO find time to spend hours online telling other people on discussion boards about their financial woes, their struggles to break even, their spouse’s failure to bring in more money and to do half the chores after a 40+ hour work week, etc.

    What I see THERE are some self-indulgent people who expect someone else (government, spouse, parents, etc.) to carry them while complaining they still don’t get enough help and taking no responsibility to contribute monetarily.

    I know that sounds like a situation that wouldn’t be very common, but my wife and I have reason to run across such types pretty frequently both online and in real life.

  7. August 27, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    Oh, your situation sounds very, VERY real to me. Life is hard and many people would rather not deal with all that difficulty. They find ways to shift that burden on others. That sounds like what you’re talking about, burden shifters. The biggest fights my wife and I have are about burden shifting.


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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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