The Rabies of the Heart: A Post on Pastoral Envy by James Emery White
As I travel this month to various church gatherings, and head into Synod meetings this week with brethren from the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church as well as my own denomination, I read with interest and conviction the following post a friend sent to me this morning. How tempting it is in these gatherings for jealousy and jockeying to take place.
So I could do no better today than lay aside what I was writing and share in part this article to whet your appetite, with the hope you will go to the link and read the full article for yourself.
Can you think of the name of a fellow pastor you would secretly enjoy seeing fail in ministry? A person who, in your darkest, most deliciously evil moments, you would enjoy seeing exposed in tomorrow’s paper for having an affair, extorting money or reading their church had split apart?
If you’re going to be honest, you can. We all can.
There are some pastors who have a lot of pastor friends. They are not typical. Most are very isolated from their peers, and often at odds with them.
They are the competition. And they feed into our darkest, least-talked-about disease: envy.
Irish writer Oscar Wilde once told a fictional tale about how the devil was crossing the Libyan desert. He came upon a spot where a small number of demons were tormenting a holy hermit. The sainted man easily shook off their evil suggestions. The devil watched as his lieutenants failed to sway the hermit, then he stepped forward to give them a lesson.
“What you do is too crude,” he said. “Permit me for one moment.”
He then whispered to the holy man, “Your brother has just been made Bishop of Alexandria.” Suddenly, a look of malignant envy clouded the once serene face of the hermit. Then the devil turned to his imps and said, “That is the sort of thing which I should recommend.”
No wonder Herman Melville called envy “the rabies of the heart.”
You can read the entire article here.