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Hello everyone! What are some of your favorite things to do on Sabbath? I like to watch nature shows, listen to music, and read! :)

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Miranda Writes: The Ugly Green Monster, Part 1




by Omar Miranda



Hi, Omar. I’m hoping you can help me with two problems I’ve been having with my best friend. I’m 14 and he’s 16. He and I are both into technology, like video games, computers, and stuff. His mom and dad are together, and they are, like, really rich and stuff and give him a lot of money to spend any way that he wants. It seems as though every week he has something new and comes over to my house and flaunts it in my face. My mom and dad are divorced, and my dad just acts like we’re dead and doesn’t help my mom take care of me, which means that she has two jobs and I’m lucky to get money for my birthday! Lately, when my friend has been showing off all his stuff, I feel as though he’s been bragging and, like, making fun of me ’cause I don’t have as much money. It’s really making me mad. I mean, if he was truly my friend, he wouldn’t do that, right? Anyway, I’m finding myself getting really jealous, and last week I took something of his without asking ’cause he flashed it in my face so much I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I used it for a couple of days and then felt so guilty I gave it back and apologized. He’s really mad at me right now, and we’re not talking. Yesterday I was at the store, and for the first time I actually thought about stealing something ’cause I couldn’t stop thinking about it and really wanted it. I wanted to talk to my mom about how I felt, but if I was honest with her about wanting to steal something, she would KILL ME!!! Also, she’s so stressed with everything she’s got to do that I really don’t want to bother her. Sorry this is so long, but I guess my question is: How can I stop thinking about wanting all of my friend’s stuff and just generally wanting stuff all the time? I read my Bible every day and pray and stuff, but it seems as though God doesn’t take away my wanting to get so much stuff. I just want to be happy with the stuff I’ve got. It seems like the more stuff I get, the more stuff I want! Please help me. I’m going crazy! I want to be a good Christian and, like, be unselfish and stuff, but I just don’t know how. I don’t understand why God doesn’t just take my feelings away.—Angry at my friend and God!

Hi, Angry. WOW! Thanks for sharing this with me. It sounds as though this has been on your mind for a while now. Thanks for your honesty. I know it wasn’t easy for you to write all of this, but I can tell that you put a lot of thought into what you wrote, and I can feel your anger and frustration.

You mentioned a couple of issues and asked two questions. I want to list your questions first and then address some of the feelings that I saw in what you wrote. We’ll take a look at what the Bible has to say about what you’re feeling, and I’ll also give you my opinions and advice. I’m hoping that by the time I’m done, you’ll have some clear answers and direction about what you should do to make things better.

As I read your e-mail, here are the two questions that I think you wanted answers to:

• If your friend is so nice, how come he seems so prideful and keeps on taunting you with all his new stuff?

• How can you stop being jealous and wanting all his stuff to the point where you’re thinking about it all the time and wanting to steal it and learn to be content with the stuff you have?

You also appeared to have a lot of feelings of anger and frustration, specifically at your father for not helping your mom take care of you, and you probably miss him a whole lot as well. You didn’t share what happened, only that your parents are divorced. A lot of times when parents get divorced, they deal with issues of grief, loss, and abandonment (when someone you love just leaves for good). I would suggest that you check out my column Miranda Writes and, more specifically, the series I wrote called “The Brady Bunch Doesn’t Live Here Anymore!” In this series I deal with a lot of the issues that it sounds like you’re dealing with. I would also encourage you to take a look at the series I did on contentment, called “The Secret to Contentment.”

From the beginning, I want to tell you how proud I am of you that you haven’t stopped reading your Bible and praying, even though you sound somewhat angry at God for not taking away your feelings of anger, jealousy, and covetousness (overwhelmingly powerful feelings of wanting what somebody else has at any cost). Many times we wonder why God doesn’t just answer our heartfelt prayers about painful and difficult circumstances we find ourselves in, but I promise you that He hears every prayer you make and is already planning to give you an answer. Stay faithful to Him. Keep praying and reading and stay connected. Remember, the Christian life isn’t about feelings—it’s about faith. Faith that no matter how you feel, God is with you. The shepherd David said in Psalm 23:4 about God: “I may walk through valleys as dark as death, but I won’t be afraid. You are with me, and your shepherd’s rod makes me feel safe” (CEV).*

Last, I want to encourage you to speak to somebody else about your problems. But steer away from getting too much of your advice and counsel from friends your age. Make sure that you mix it up by speaking to some adults as well. They’ve been alive longer and perhaps made some of the same mistakes you’re now making and have felt some of the same feelings you’re feeling. Most important, please reconsider speaking with your mother about this. I know that you don’t want to bother or stress her with your problems, but it’s her job to be involved in your life. And I doubt that she’s going to feel bothered or stressed out about what you tell her. Now, I will admit that she may be a little upset that you felt like stealing something from a store, but the fact is that you didn’t give in to temptation and you overcame it, and when you took your friend’s stuff, you gave it back to him and apologized. I know that a part of you is scared that she’ll come down on you like a ton of bricks, but I think you’ll be amazed at how much your mom might understand how you feel. If you still don’t feel as though you can talk to her, you can talk to another trusted adult, like your pastor or another adult friend or family member.

[To be continued next week. In the second part of my response to “Angry,” we’ll address the issues of pride, jealousy, and covetousness, and how these can negatively affect our lives and the lives of others. We’ll also talk about contentment.]

Until next time, remember these things: God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Put God first in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omarmiranda@earthlink.net; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes, at www.insightmagazine.org; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site, thriveatlife.org; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor

Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 1-770-354-2912

*Scripture quotations identified CEV are from the Contemporary English Version. Copyright © American Bible Society 1991, 1995. Used by permission.

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.
 





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