Don’t Drink the E & J!!! (Envy and Jealousy)

Why do these two sins of the heart create so much destruction and devastation?

Alice Walker, in her book, Possessing the Secret of Joy, reveals the devastating practice in some cultures of female mutilation.  Her premise is that this practice originates from an insidious attitude among males that the female anatomy possesses the ability to create its own joyous pleasure without the help of male stimulation.  As a result, many women have been butchered to prevent them from experiencing this autonomous pleasure.  The play, Ruined, by Lynn Notage, depicts the rape and mutilation of women as an act of war by soldiers in the Republic of Congo.  Women are treated as collateral damage in the struggle between male dominated entities for power.

Native American, African, and  other indigenous cultures have historically exhibited a superior knowledge and an almost divine relationship with Mother Earth.  Their attitudes and traditions illustrate a closeness to nature and a realization of what it provides.  I can remember hearing some recanting the conventional wisdom concerning this by saying “You know, those ignorant Africans were stubbing their toes on diamonds until the white man came and discovered them”.  Paul Simon’s song, Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes, sung with a beautiful accompaniment by African men, disputed this ridiculous justification of colonization and rape of the environment for financial gain.  Those who envy the preservation of these natural resources usurped them for their purposes, and gave no thought to showing those who possessed them how to utilize them in a way that would revitalize them.

This month, we have witnessed the acknowledgement of the Tulsa OK massacre, which reeks of the darkest form of envy and jealousy.  The destruction of the Greenwood district, known as Black Wallstreet, demonstrates just how evil these emotions can be, and the lasting devastation that it can bring.  Only a depraved heart and consciousness could justify a state-sponsored attack on a group of people who had exhibited the ability to catch sight of the “American dream” and demonstrate the self-sufficiency that many would have us believe was unattainable for Black people.  It was so malevolent that it was not spoken of or acknowledged for many years in “polite society”.  Certainly, it never made the history books.

While it does not take the form of the Tulsa event, this devastation has persisted throughout history as a state-sponsored practice.  It could be the stealing of sacred lands from Native Americans and consigning them to live on reservations.  It could be confining African Americans to slave quarters, ghettos, projects, or prison cells.  It could be using eminent domain, urban renewal, or gentrification to grab whatever is desired from whomever possesses it to promote “progress” and give rise to the notion of American Exceptionalism.

E & J, Envy and Jealousy, are grounded in a desire for self-preservation, and the inability to recognize that God allows the rain to fall on us all.  The fruit of E & J is injustice of the highest order. These are just some of the manifestations of  malignant practices associated with deep-seated feelings and attitudes that are no less than an abomination before a just and compassionate God.  He is compassionate and merciful; so much so that He even gave Jezebel time and opportunity to repent.  May we not miss the opportunity to repent as He prepares us for His coming.


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