I Want to Smash What You’ve Made
But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him, and filled with jealousy they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. Acts 5:17
Every winter, my kids and I venture out onto the frozen lake to create snow sculptures. Several winters ago, I heard that another guy and his kids made something similar nearby, so we went to investigate. They did indeed make an amazing fort out of snow blocks in which they could sit around a campfire. Most of me thought it was fantastic that others were out enjoying the snow. If I’m honest though, there was a little part of me – and I’m ashamed to admit this – that just wanted to smash it. I was horrified to realize that in me, there was a repulsive jealousy that simply wanted to break this beautiful thing because someone else had made it.
Unfortunately, I’ve experienced this in other areas of life as well. When I was losing my battle with addiction, I’d see those who had found recovery and part of me wanted them to fail. Their success should have motivated me to similar success, but instead of elevating myself to their level, I just wanted to drag them down to mine. In my failure, I found perverse comfort in the failure of others.
Today’s passage tells a similar story of this hideous, destructive jealously. In the story, the apostle’s popularity with the people soared. And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women (Acts 5:14). The religious leaders were less impressed though. The high priest and his followers should have been inspired to follow Jesus, embracing authentic faith, but instead they were filled with envy and simply wanted to smash the apostle’s success. So, once again, they threw the apostles in jail.
Unfortunately, many of us have experienced this ugly impulse. When we see that others have lost weight, found recovery, improved their marriage, or grown in their faith, we should be motivated to emulate their success. It’s far easier though, to indulge in jealousy, wishing for failure. I hope you gain all that weight back.
Surrendering to our jealousy does us no good of course. It only makes us more miserable. If we want to grow, if we want to change, then we must choose to abandon such grotesque impulses and use the success stories of others as inspiration for our own transformation.