Is it Difficult to See a Friend Fail?
**Disclaimer…I’m not speaking for everyone…this is a post from my heart…something I’m PERSONALLY working on. Just thought a few of you might gain perspective and truth from it too
Is it difficult to see a friend fail?
I was asked this question this week at our Sunday morning church meeting with some other missionaries. My first thought was, “Of course!”
It’s hard to see our friends fail. We don’t want to see them hurting. And then I thought…but failure is all part of the process, right? We grow from failure, learn from mistakes.
Then he asked…
What is HARDER than seeing a friend fail?
Immediately, I thought…seeing them give up, lose hope.
After a few people gave their thoughts, the speaker said something that I wasn’t expecting.
What’s harder than seeing a friend fail?
Seeing them succeed.
Wow. No. Can’t be. Well…maybe. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how this was true in my life. I am happy for them…but when I think about it…I’m selfish too. Maybe you’re not all in the same place as me, but this hit home. This world that we live in is so competitive. We compare ourselves, our families, our successes, our failures, our businesses, our churches, our ministries, and the list goes on. When our friends get a new house, or a nice car, a raise at work or get to go on a family vacation…we may outwardly express “happiness” for them, but how many times on the inside are we envious? Must be nice…why them and not me?
Why can’t we truly be happy for our friends when God brings blessings into their lives? It’s SO difficult here. One ministry is easily able to raise tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in one event…we struggle to find that much in a year. Requests go out and are answered and their ministry grows. It’s hard to not feel jealous of them. It’s the same in the States…a church has a new building project, or their Children’s ministry throws a fantastic VBS that 500 children attend when you’ve worked SO hard and only 50 show up to yours. Instead of celebrating with those who have successes, deep down, we feel sorry for ourselves and feel anger, frustration, jealousy…and even maybe disgust towards those who succeed.
We have so much in comparison to so many who we live next to. We want to be a blessing to them. But, when we give to one family…instead of their neighbors being happy for them and celebrating with them, they turn their backs and talk badly about them. We live in a scarcity mindset.
And on the other side…
Since moving to Haiti, there have been SO many times where God has amazed us with His blessings. We see Him at work and are so thankful. But, we are afraid to share. Afraid that others will judge, or that we would make them feel down about their circumstances, so we decide to not say anything at all.
When you’re a missionary, I feel that there is this mindset that many back in the States have. Before being a missionary, I thought the same thing. Even our family didn’t truly understand until visiting. I pictured us living in a hut with a dirt floor, cooking over a fire, going to the bathroom outside and washing our clothes by hand. You know, “suffering for Jesus.” (Something I hear many times when we have short term teams) Well, we have a beautiful home, with two bathrooms and indoor plumbing. We have a washing machine and I even employ someone to come clean our house. Each one of those things I feel I have to hide, or come up with an excuse for having it. Why? Back in the States, I would have no guilt having a washing machine, indoor toilets, hot water, or even air conditioning.
Why then, do I feel that people would not celebrate with us?
In Romans 12:15, God has to remind us to: "Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn."
If rejoicing with those who rejoice came naturally, why would we have to be reminded?
So I’m challenging all of us. Let’s try to really be happy for our friends when they receive a blessing. The next time someone on your facebook feed posts about a family vacation, let’s CELEBRATE with them! Ask God to give your heart peace and joy with your circumstances, to help you be content with what He’s given you, and to be aware of the blessings. Even the small, seemingly insignificant ones.
We can do this. We may be weak, but HIS Spirit is strong in us…and His Spirit is NOT a spirit of jealousy…it’s a spirit of LOVE and JOY.