Stop the Cycle



After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. (Acts 18:1-2 ESV)



If you know me, you know that I read a verse and ask some questions about it.  I ask the context of the verse, the history of it and the application of it to my own life. Today was an example of this and I want to share it with you.  What stood out to me were these words: “because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome.” 


I asked myself a question as to why the Jews were expelled from Rome?   I was immediately reminded that the Jews have had anti-sematic or hostile and prejudiced efforts against them as long as there’s been Jewish history.  But why?  Why has there been an effort to extinguish them from existence in the past and even today by some people?  Is the Jewish culture corrupt and this is why?  Do people have bad experiences with swindlers that were Jews and it built a reputation about them?  Why is it that with some people they have a reputation that they cannot be trusted?  As an example of a reputation of corruption, think of the reputation of the gypsies.  Do you know any gypsies?   I don’t, but I was warned as a little boy that they are a culture of pick pockets, swindlers and thieves.  They traveled with circuses and such, and we were told to watch out when you around them. Do not trust them.  I’m sure there is some truth to their reputation.  But are all gypsies this way?  They sure have an international reputation as such.  Even so, is that not a form of prejudice that is passed down from one generation to another about a culture, or a different lifestyle?  Could it be the same with the Jews even in Rome?


What I have experienced by my impression of the Jews that I’ve known or known about is that they are generally very smart, as a culture.  They are astute businessmen and women.  When to comes to banking and finance and diamonds and the garment industry, they come out on top.  They have been the leaders in science, math, and creative projects for centuries.  In my opinion they are a culture that has created envy with their surrounding cultures, and that may be the crux of the matter?  Maybe it is because of those special intellectual traits I’ve mentioned that has distinguished the Jews, but as well has created jealousy by people who envy them? Consider their history and the ones who have persecuted them in the past and present?  Jealousy is pretty easy to spot, isn’t it?  So why do I bring this up?  Let’s get past the Jews and the jealousy thing, even though I went there because it is likely the reason they were expelled from Rome.  Let’s talk about ourselves and how dangerous the temptation to envy other people plays into the hands of the Evil Man.


As a disciple of Christ, there is an essential connection to be made.  It is this:  Jealousy is the outcome of envyEnvy is the outcome of self-pitySelf-pity is the outcome of listening to the Evil Man.  How do I know this?  Well let’s do a little back tracking to see where the spirit of jealousy began.  It happened right before Satan had his fall.  Read about it:


“How you are fallen from heaven,O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven;above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit.” (Isaiah 14:12-15 ESV)


It is interesting to note that the event mentioned above is where Lucifer became Satan, where evil originated, and from this point where evil was taken to God’s creation on earth.  Almost as soon as sin entered this world, the personality of the Evil Man was seen when Cain killed Abel.  Why did he do this?  Like the Evil Man who inspired it, Cain felt sorry for himself.  He thought he was being unfairly treated by God.  He thought he deserved better.  This then created the envy I speak of, and just like fruit that grows on a tree, jealousy was birthed which led to sin.  The originator of jealousy was given his glory when Cain killed his brother, for Cain followed his leader down the same path that led to Satan’s own destruction.  Do you see the sin cycle that begins with envy?


Back to a personal application. You and I may not hate Jews, or any ethnic group.  We may not see our self as prejudiced.  We may have no awareness of jealousy in our life.  But we can be assured that self-pity will lead to envy and then to jealousy and to sin.  If you want to stop this cycle at its beginning, turn your temptation from feeling sorry for yourself to praise and thanksgiving, and allow God to bless you with the measure of His blessings to you.  Let Him open your eyes to how greatly you are blessed, and there will be no room left for envy to find a root in your life.