We have all heard the phrase “green with envy”. It is a well known phrase for everyone who is taking a breath right now. Unfortunately it is easily seen in the outdoors arena with fellow hunters, fishermen and friends. Yes… I am guilty on what I’m about to discuss. Every outdoorsmen dreams about the big hunt or the awesome fishing trip where the excitement of success is always on the front of our minds. As we sit in our stands in the middle of a white oak bottom where the trees are raining acorns or cast our spinner bait next to the cattails our human minds can dream up some fantastic pictures on the “what if’s”. What if today is the day. Most of us like sharing our stories and sometimes those stories become tall tales, that’s fun amongst friends. However, I have been that person that many outdoorsmen would share their story with only find myself putting on a smile, and saying things like nice buck or good fish, but deep down I’d be feeling something else. If we’re honest, envy is a dangerous sin that we all possess and it can grow just like poison ivy. For all you hunters out there you know what I mean. You find what you think will be the best location for a hunting stand and you try to get things just right during late summer. We find ourselves climbing trees like monkeys, hugging on branches and tree trunks getting things set up. Before we know it, we realize that we have been kissing poison ivy growing around that tree for the past 30 minutes. Sometimes we don’t even realize it until we get home or even the next morning. The evidence now appears with a hindering itch, a red rash and sometimes blisters.
The envy that I’m talking about is not limited to the outdoors platform. It can also be directed towards our family, co-workers, people’s possessions, money, vacations and homes. It may even be comparing our children or spouses and do I dare say it, envy can also carry over into the church with what others are trying to do for God’s Kingdom. What better way, than have a poison like envy creep its way into the Body of Christ where the vines can grow and mix itself in so slightly that we don’t even notice it or we choose to ignore it. The rash that envy causes can break up long time relationships, and completely goes against who God wants us to be. So what can we do? First we need to be able to recognize it and understand how it grows. If you don’t know what poison ivy looks like, sooner or later you will get into it. Once you find it and it’s in your path, you’ve got to remove it by cutting the vine, spray it with herbicide, or you may want to remove yourself and find a different tree or path to take. Like any sin, God wants us to remove ourselves from those things that may led us into a trap, self-deception or even into the poison ivy. God has shown me areas of this sin in my own life that has gone unchecked for many years. It’s time for me to cut the vine.