Envy, Part 6

Being Zion

Equality Overtakes Envy

Instances of envy-inducing media and personal situations are everywhere. Can we become more immune to the negative effects of these influences?

The most important thing to consider and understand is all over the scriptures. There’s no doubt or wiggle-room on this one. We are all equal before God. Access to God is given freely to anyone who desires it. There is no line. "Don't need no ticket, you just thank the Lord" (Curtis Mayfield, People Get Ready, 1965.)

Here are two relevant examples, one from Peter through Cornelius, and one from God. Cornelius was a Gentile who had not converted to Judaism, but was a righteous man. Even so, Jews were forbidden his association. An angel advised Cornelius to contact Peter for a visit, which he did. After a vision from God, Peter told Cornelius:

"God has showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean...Truly I perceive that God is no respecter of persons, but in every nation, he that fears him and works righteousness is accepted with him." (LDS Acts 10:28, 34-35; RE Acts 6:6,7)

This was huge for Peter—a magnificent paradigm-shift. Being humbled, he recognized the lighthouse of inequity and the resulting iniquity, and obediently changed a deeply held belief. Peter was open and sensitive to the Lord’s will, regardless of false traditions. Are we?

Then, our Lord confirms:

"And for your salvation, I give unto you a commandment...all flesh is mine, and I am no respecter to persons..." (LDS D&C 38:16; RE T&C 22:6)

Exactly why is it critical that God is no respecter of persons?

Joseph Smith answers in the third Lecture in Faith, verse 23: 

"But it is also necessary that men should have an idea that he is no respecter of persons, for with the idea of all the other excellencies in his character and this one wanting, men could not exercise faith in him; because if he were a respecter of persons, they could not tell what their privileges were, nor how far they were authorized to exercise faith in him, or whether they were authorized to do it at all; but all must be confusion. But no sooner are the minds of men made acquainted with the truth on this point — that he is no respecter of persons — than they see that they have authority by faith to lay hold on eternal life, the richest boon of Heaven, because God is no respecter of persons and that every man in every nation has an equal privilege."

This is fundamental and Babylon-shaking doctrine. It lays us flat, staring into the abyss of our pedestal-making judgments, and envy. It topples rock-star leadership.

It raises those who thought they had no chance. It provides no advantage or hindrance to anyone, regardless of organizational affiliation. Isn't this what missionaries teach the seeker? Our Lord is an intimately personal God. All are equally invited to approach Him with the confidence and expectation of an audience, and answers.

Ask with faith. And soon will be observed sudden bursts of knowledge. You recognize that they came from a source seemingly outside you but yet inside too. As you express gratitude for the increase in knowledge and light, you'll receive more, as you ask. This is how we attain the Glory of God and His Grace.

He waits for us to resonate with the frequencies of Heaven. The tuning mechanism is our Christlike behavior and our heart's righteous desires. Envy causes spiritual dissonance, which interferes with those frequencies. With spiritual alignment to Heaven, communication becomes clearer.

Be One, and Be Unique

While we are one with each other, and with God, all having equal privilege before Him, we remain unique in our individual capabilities and spiritual gifts. How boring would be mortality, if we were all the same.

(Just a short note before Paul reminds us of fundamental doctrine. The Hebrew language has no neutral term for gender. A group of men and women is referred to as "masculine." Hence, both men and women are recipients of spiritual gifts.)

"But the manifestation of the spirit is given to every man to profit all; for to one is given by the spirit the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge by the same spirit, to another faith by the same spirit, to another the gifts of healing by the same spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But all these work that one and the selfsame spirit, dividing to every man separately as he desires." (LDS 1Cor 12:7-11; RE 1Cor 1:48)

Each gift is a reminder of the Lord's interaction with us, and His trust. We are uniquely blessed and challenged, male and female, to increase our ability to identify, develop, and use our gifts. As we bless others, the Lord takes note, and we grow closer to Him and become more like Him.

Recognizing the gifts of others when we have neglected our own can lead to envy. Envying another's spiritual gift is an affront to the judgments of God. Really? We would call into question the Lord's will for us and others? 

Because of our equality before God, envy of mortal position or gifts, is empty and irrelevant. Our Lord provides a path for each of us back to the Father through His Atonement. Where we are on our unique path is irrelevant to anyone else's position on their path.

Neal Maxwell warns: "It is not wise for us to compare crosses." (Neal A. Maxwell, BYU Devotional, Taking Up the Cross, Jan 4, 1976.)

The message appears to be: "Discover your own spiritual gifts and use them to bless others." Direction on our path is far more important than position. In spite of that truth, comparing path positions and paychecks has become all too common in Babylon.

The engine of envy is pride, with lubrication provided by money. Paul warns Timothy about those who reject the Gospel of Christ and, instead, embrace a secular, strife-filled culture of iniquity, where money is the ultimate reward and scorekeeper. See if this sounds tragically familiar:

"...he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof comes envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness...For the love of money is the root of all evil..." (LDS 1 Tim 6:4-5, 10; RE 1Tim 1:16) 

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