Friday, 20 November 2020
Title: Are you a Serial Fretter?
By: Ps. Cheng Cheung

Psalm 37: 1 Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. (NKJV)

Can any of us claim exemption from this problem?

Which one, you may ask.

Isn’t it obvious?

I would certainly not be envious of evildoers. Would you? Surely they will receive the just consequences of their sinful wrongs, sooner or later, whether in this life or the next.

So we are agreed – the thing we should not do is fret because of evildoers. And what does it mean, to fret? It means to get heated up, or to get worked up. One person once defined it as that which makes a person rough on the surface, causing him to rub and wear himself and others away. Isn’t it true that an irritable, irrational, and critical person not only wears himself out but is also very draining and tiring to others?¹

Have we all not gone through times of fuming, fretting, fulminating, frustration and perhaps rage because of other people’s wrongdoing, their harmful attitudes and harmful actions? The Psalmist uses the phrase thrice at the start of the Psalm, as if emphasizing this admonition and appealing to our reason why we should not fret, although it is a common reaction.

Let’s be honest. We all tend to fret when we encounter people who, in our view, abuse their power or authority, people who are highhanded, insensitive, manipulative, abusive, hypocritical, exploitative, selfish, recklessly dangerous, or lack integrity. These people often leave us exasperated, and we start by shaking our heads in disbelief.

With continuous interaction, the common tendency then is we move up to the next level. We start to fret about such behaviour with a sense of dismay and disapproval until we finally reach the critical and cynical scale, with the result that we become resentful and vindictive, compromising our own spiritual walk with the Lord and our positive influence amongst those around us. The Psalmist warns in v 8:
Refrain from anger and forsake wrath.
Do not fret; it only brings evil.

This is why we are warned not to fret. Fretting over the evil of others can lead to evil on the fretter’s part. It is wrong, it is harmful, it is needless.

In verse one, the Psalm seems to pair the two admonitions DO NOT FRET and NOR BE ENVIOUS against one common genre of people. This common group are the “evildoers/workers of iniquity/doers of wickedness/those who are evil.”

You could swop the second set of phrases around (in fact, in all the translations the phrases are virtually interchangeable), BUT do not fret and do not envy are two different things. However, the Psalmist lists ONE common set of reasons why his readers should not fret over and should not envy the doers of evil/doers of wickedness, and the reasons have to do with the inevitability of the end result.

  • The evildoers will soon be cut down like the grass, their prosperity is transient, as are the wicked themselves (v 2).
  • Those who wait upon the Lord shall inherit the earth; the evildoers shall be no more (v 9 -10).
  • The wicked plots against the just shall boomerang on them (v 12-15).
  • The arms of the wicked shall be broken and Yahweh will uphold the righteous (v 17).
  • The days of the upright shall be forever, but the wicked shall vanish (v 18-20).

Finally, a note regarding being envious, especially of the prosperity of others. It is foolish and smacks of insecurity and discontentedness toward God to repine or be envious at the prosperity of others. Whether they are godly or ungodly, it is God who is the dispenser of the bounty they enjoy. He has a right to do what He wills with His own. To be envious in such a case is to find fault with the providence of God.

Prayer for Today

Gracious Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word which is living and active, and pierces to the division of soul and spirit, and discerns the thoughts and intentions of my heart. You know me, whether I am prone to fret and be envious.

Help me trust You and do good (verse 3), find delight also in You (verse 4) and be still and wait patiently for You to act (verse 7), and thereby overcome my poor natural instincts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

¹ “Streams in the Dessert” – LB Cowman

每日灵粮
星期五,2020年11月20日
标题:你是否一直心怀不平?
作者:张祯祥传道
翻译:陈月妃姐妹

诗篇37:1〔大卫的诗。〕不要为作恶的、心怀不平、也不要向那行不义的、生出嫉妒。

我们当中是否有人能够不必面对这个问题呢?

你可能会问。

这不是很明显吗?

我当然不会嫉妒那作恶的。你会吗?这些人早晚有一天,必然会为他们的恶行受到正义的审判。

因此,我们都同意—我们不应该为作恶的、心怀不平。心怀不平是什么意思呢?那就是被激怒,或是恼怒。曾经有人将它定义为使一个人烦躁,从而惹怒他并令他及他人耗尽精力。这难道不是这样吗,一个易怒,不理性,及爱挑剔的人不仅使自己精疲力竭,也令到他人疲劳。¹

我们是否都曾因他人的错误行为、损害性的态度与举止而经历过发怒、心怀不平、恼怒、沮丧甚至动怒呢?诗篇作者在诗篇的开头用了三个词组,好像在强调这一告诫,并呼吁我们为什么不应该心怀不平,尽管这是一种常见的反应。

平心而论。当我们遇到在我们看来滥用权力或权威的人,那些专横、麻木不仁、操纵欲强、虚伪、剥削、自私、鲁莽危险或缺乏正直的人时,我们都会感到心怀不平。这些人经常让我们恼火,我们开始不相信地摇头。

随着连续地互动,我们一般上会晋升至另一个等级。我们开始对这类行为心怀不平,直到最终达到吹毛求疵和愤世嫉俗的阶段。结果我们愤愤不平及怀恨在心,这不但使我们与主的灵程受损,也对我们周遭的人造成不良的影响。诗人在第8节中警告:
当止住怒气、离弃忿怒.不要心怀不平、以致作恶。

这就是为什么我们被警告不要心怀不平。为他人的恶行而心怀不平会导致心怀不平者作恶。这是错误的,是有害的,是不必要的。

在第一节中,诗篇似乎把这两条告诫结合在一起,既不心怀不平也不嫉妒一个特定的群体。这个常见的群体是“作恶者/行不义的/邪恶者/恶者”。

你可以随意使用第二组短语(事实上,在所有的翻译中,这些短语实际上是可以互换的),但是不要心怀不平和不要嫉妒是两件不同的事情。然而,诗篇作者列举了一组常见的理由,为何他的读者不必心怀不平,也不应该嫉妒那些作恶的人,这些理由与最终结果的必然性有关。

-因为他们如草快被割下、他们的兴旺是暂时的,恶人也是如此。(第2节)
-惟有等候耶和华的、必承受地土;恶人要归于无有。(第 9 -10节)
-恶人设谋害义人,最终将自食其果。(第 12-15节)
-因为恶人的膀臂、必被折断.但耶和华是扶持义人。(第 17节)
-完全人的日子将永远长存,恶人却必灭亡。(第 18-20节)

最后,关于嫉妒,特别是对他人的成功的嫉妒。抱怨或嫉妒他人的成功是愚蠢的,这意味着我们缺乏安全感和对上帝的不满。无论他们是敬虔的还是不敬虔的,上帝是赏赐他们的施与者。祂有权按照自己的意愿去做祂想做的事。在这种情况下的嫉妒是对上帝的旨意的抱怨。

今天的祷告
慈悲的天父,感谢你那长存及活泼的话语。它们穿透灵魂和心灵,并辨清我的心思意念。你了解我,知道我是否动辄心怀不平和嫉妒。

求你帮助我倚靠你而行善(第3节),又以耶和华为乐(第4节),当默然倚靠耶和华、耐性等候祂(第7节),从而克服我卑微的天性。奉耶稣的名,阿门。

¹ “Streams in the Dessert” – LB Cowman

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