What in the world does “fret” mean? Here is a little word that doesn’t have any positive definitions. It means “to worry, to be discontent, to have something be eaten away by something else.” It means, “to torment or irritate or upset someone or yourself.” So when the Bible says not to “fret” it means “quit worrying about it.” That’s not always easy to do, is it?
Here’s another little word with a negative definition: Envy. Envy is a kind of jealousy. The dictionary defines it as the “resentful or unhappy feeling of wanting somebody else’s success, good fortune, qualities, or possessions.” We can envy someone else’s clothes, their looks, their friendships, their talents, or their achievements. For example, when a friend does well on an exam, instead of being happy for her, you feel jealous and you wish it could have been you instead. That’s envy.
The Bible says that we shouldn’t fret about or envy the apparent success of people who do wrong. Do you know someone who got rewarded for cheating? How did it make you feel? Did you fret and feel envious? Unfortunately, fretting and envy don’t change the situation, but they do make us miserable. That’s why the Bible says not to fret or envy. And although people who cheat to get ahead appear to be getting away with it, they’re losers in the long run.
Dear Lord, I admit I have both fretted and been envious. Please help me to be content with doing honest work and to trust you with the rest. Amen.