Do Not Take Your Neighbor's Stuff Devotional
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male of female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” – Exodus 20:17 (NIV)
We often wonder how the ancient commandments could possibly be relevant to our modern lives. Not so, with the 10th Commandment. Coveting is alive and well in 2021. With the invention of social media and its ability to give a daily look into the lives of our neighbors, coveting is a sin that has taken a firm grip on many of us and even of our children today.
Merriam Webster says that to covet is to feel inordinate desire for what belongs to another. Call it jealousy, envy, or the green-eyed monster. I’m not sure there’s a person on the planet who hasn’t felt that pit in her stomach that comes with comparison.
To be fair, I can’t remember the last time I felt jealous about a neighbor’s ox, but I’ve certainly coveted another’s house, her job, her vacation destination, and yes, I’ll admit it, even her super cute shoes.
I’ll tell you who has shown me a way to fight against the sin of coveting more than anyone else. I think it might surprise you. To be sure, studies indicating a rise in anxiety among teens due to social media makes it necessary for parents to monitor their children’s activity online. And yet, it is actually my 16-year-old son and his friends who’ve shown me the antidote to coveting. I know many high school baseball players who’ve been teammates since they could barely tie their own cleats. Most aspire to play baseball in college. In recent months, offers from college baseball teams around the country are coming in for some, while others are still waiting. Just about every week we see a social media post declaring a kid’s commitment to play in college. I’ve wondered how these posts affect those who still wait and wonder if their own dream will come to pass.
What I’ve found is that no matter how they might feel on the inside, these kids are commenting with congratulations and happy emojis. They’re reposting their friends’ good news, promoting them, and celebrating their teammates’ accomplishments.
I think what these kids are teaching me is the truth that no one is taking the gift the Lord has intended for you. God hears every child’s dream. He knows the desires of every person’s heart. The idea that someone else has the thing that was meant for you is simply a lie. It flies in the face of the promise of Jeremiah 29:11 which tells us that He has a specific plan – a good one even – for each of us.
So the next time I feel that green-eyed monster lurking, I’ll remember how a bunch of teenage boys taught me about the 10th Commandment. Instead of coveting, maybe I’ll clap. Instead of choosing resentment, I’ll cheer. I’ll celebrate, congratulate, and give a bunch of high fives. Before I know it that pit in my stomach might just disappear.