Envy and the Unique Role of Aunts

For he [Pilate] realized by now that the leading priests had arrested Jesus out of envy.

Mark 15:10 (NLT)

I am an aunt to some lovely young women and men. I have cultivated individual relationships with them and enjoy my unique role in their lives. Being their aunt gives me a certain advantage over their mothers. I can play “good cop.” I can say things their mothers cannot. I can overlook mistakes and accept them as they are because I don’t have as much at stake. My involvement is sporadic, never long enough or intense enough to hit rough patches. However, in all these years, I have never truly considered my sisters and sister-in-laws and what my relationship with their children might communicate.

For now I am the parent of young adults. And they have aunts. And these aunts are fostering distinct relationships with my children and spending time with them apart from me. And they are even giving advice that differs from mine.

And I feel a twinge of envy. This is not good. Envy got Jesus killed. The chief priests wanted him out of the way because they envied his ministry and immense following. Author and speaker, Beth Moore says, “envy can kill anything from contentment to relationships to people.”1

I see what envy can do when allowed to take root and fester and I don’t want anything to do with that. I want to celebrate the relationships my children nurture on their own as well as the input that aunts and uncles and friends can give to them that I cannot. Our individualistic society forgets that having a village to raise a child is actually a good thing. We have become so insular with all the responsibility (and thus the control as well as the guilt) falls on the immediate parents.

So when I see my children in deep conversation with their aunts, I will reject any thoughts of jealousy or a desire to interfere or insert myself. Instead, I will rejoice that they are being taught and encouraged by others who love them.

PRAYER

Thank you, Holy Spirit, for helping me to identify that little twinge and call it what it is. I ask you to help me rid myself of any envy (1 Peter 2:1). Thank you for sisters who love my sons and invest in them. I rejoice that they have an abundance of counselors because in that they will find safety (Proverbs 11:14). Thank for my nieces and nephews that I love and care for. Help me to be wise in my interactions with them and considerate of their mothers.

1Beth Moore, Jesus the One and Only (Nashville, TN: LifeWay Press, 2000) 219.

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