The Better Bone

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. – Proverbs 14:30 (NIV)

One morning years ago I gave each of our dogs, Bobby and Charlie, a big, juicy venison bone before I sat down for my devotions.

“There,” I thought smugly as they settled on the living room carpet about six feet from each other, “that’ll keep them quiet and occupied for awhile.”

I sank onto the love seat and opened my Bible to the day’s meditation. After a few minutes, Bobby got up, dropped his bone on the carpet at my feet, and stood over Charlie until she let go of hers. Quickly, he snapped it up and scooted behind the love seat. Charlie was too surprised to growl.

I didn’t want a dogfight in the middle of my living room, so I picked up Bobby’s bone and gave it to Charlie. It wasn’t long before Bobby sneaked out from behind the love seat and, once again, snatched the bone Charlie was chomping on. I took the bone Bobby had left and dropped it in front of Charlie. Catching on to Bobby’s thievery, Charlie left the bone I gave her and went after Bobby’s.

On and on the swapping went, each dog acting as though the other had the better bone. What I thought would make for peace instead became a source of envy and caused trouble.

I, too, battle envy. I try to stifle envy when I speak with retired friends who have the time and money to do things my husband and I can’t do because he can’t retire yet. After I’ve visited with someone who has plush new carpeting, it seems as though mine has gotten shabbier overnight. And it’s all too easy to find fault with those who I feel are smarter, thinner, or more talented than I am.

Nine of the Ten Commandments deal with our actions; the tenth deals with our inner desires: “You must not be envious of your neighbor’s house, or want to sleep with his wife, or want to own his slaves, oxen, donkeys, or anything else he has” (Exodus 20:17 LB).

Like an acid, envy eats away at my peace of mind, my inner joy and contentment, and my relationships with others. No wonder God tells us to rid ourselves of envy (1 Peter 2:1). He knows what I’m still learning: that love, not envy, is the better bone.

When I feel that tug of envy on my heart, O Lord, help me to be satisfied with what I have, for everything I have is a gift from You. Amen.

Read and meditate on Matthew 6:19–33; Psalm 119:145–160

For further study: Hebrews 13:5; Philippians 4:11–13; James 1:17; Psalm 145:14–21; 1Timothy 6:9–11; Colossians 3:5; Matthew 15:19–20.

(c) 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

The Power of Truth

 

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. –Exodus 20:16 (NKJ)

We were driving back to Pennsylvania after a visit with our daughter in South Carolina when it happened: a red pickup truck came rolling off the on-ramp, crossed two lanes of traffic on the interstate highway, and cut right in front of us. My husband swerved left to avoid a collision, but then we were headed for the concrete divider. So he cut back to the right, causing our vehicle to fishtail. That’s when the pickup hit us.

“I never even saw you,” the driver told us.

Fortunately, no one was injured, and we were able, after giving our statements to the police, to continue our journey home. The red pickup truck was totaled. Although two motorists stopped to make sure no one was injured, neither stayed to give statements to the police. The investigating officer determined the other driver was at fault. His insurance company paid for the repairs to our vehicle, as well as for a rental car while the repairs were being made.

End of story? No.

Three months later the insurance company called and told us a witness had come forward and said that we were at fault, that we cut in front of the pickup and caused the collision. When I paid a visit to my insurance company, I read an amended report that put us at fault, yet we never received a copy of that report. Neither did we receive any further communication from the South Carolina State Highway Patrol. No citation. No fine. Nothing. I called the investigating officer three times to find out what was going on, but my call was never returned.

So where, after three months, did this witness come from? And why, after that long, did he come forward, when there were no injuries and the damage was relatively minor? I knew we were telling the truth. I had my doubts about this new witness. But how do you defend yourself against a lie?

By telling the truth and waiting for it to prevail.

And by praying. During my quiet time, God spoke to me through His Word: “A lying witness is unconvincing; a person who speaks the truth is respected” (Proverbs 21:28 The Message).

“Unscrupulous people fake it a lot, honest people are sure of their steps” (v. 29).

“Nothing clever, nothing conceived, nothing contrived, can get the better of God” (v. 30).

“Do your best, prepare for the worst, then trust God to bring the victory” (v. 31).

After giving our statements again, this time to our insurance company, we heard nothing more about it until December when the other driver called our home.

“This has been dragging on too long,” he said, adding that our insurance company had determined not to accept this witness’s testimony.

When King David fled Jerusalem when his son Absalom rebelled and seized the throne, a servant by the name of Ziba lied about his master, Mephibosheth, the crippled son of David’s dear friend Jonathan, telling the king that his master stayed in Jerusalem to support Absalom. That was a lie so he could get in the king’s good graces and Mephibosheth’s property. The truth eventually came out, and Ziba’s treachery was exposed.

“Sin has many tools,” wrote Oliver Wendell Holmes, “but a lie is the handle that fits them all.”

I still feel helpless against a lie. But I’ve learned that lies may travel faster, but truth sticks around longer.

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist” (Ephesians 6:13–14 NIV).

 

When I feel threatened and helpless in the face of a lie, remind me, Lord, that truth will eventually win out. Amen.

Read and meditate on 2 Samuel 16:1–4, 19:24–30; Psalm 119:129–144

(c) 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.