Exploring Christ's Spiritual Laws

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FullyLoved

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I should remind visitors-- though I'll likely be ignored--that this thread isn't a
forum; it's a blog. So I'd be very grateful if folks would kindly resist the urge
to abuse it as a venue for chit-chat, discussion, and/or debating.

Thank You.
_
I'm sorry. I'm still learning how to listen (or in this case read) before opening my big mouth.
 

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Jas 4:13-16 . . Come now, you who say: Today or tomorrow, we shall go to
such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and
make a profit. Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You
are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.

. . . Instead, you ought to say: If The Lord wills, we shall live and also do
this or that. But as it is, you vaunt your braggadocio; all such vaunting is
evil.

What’s wrong with prosperity? Nothing. The problem here is not prosperity;
the problem is personal ambitions to the exclusion of God's feelings about
them.

According to John 15:16, The Lord informed his followers that he selected
them for three purposes : (1) to go, (2) to bring forth fruit, and (3) to
associate with his Father.

Even Christ was subject to another's agenda.

"I seek not to please myself, but rather, Him who sent me." (John 5:30)

"I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him
who sent me." (John 6:38)

I think Christians sometimes forget just how fragile human life really is. At
any moment, they can be terminated by health, crime, or accident. It's the
brevity of life that makes it so essential that people not squander it. If at all
possible, bloom where you're planted instead of arbitrarily running off to
greener pastures.

"Therefore be intelligent in how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise,
making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be
foolish, but understand what the will of The Lord is." (Eph 5:15-17)
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Jas 5:1-3 . . Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending
miseries. Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth
eaten, your gold and silver have corroded, and that corrosion will be a
testimony against you; it will devour your flesh like a fire. You have stored
up treasure for the last days.

Gold doesn't react with oxygen so it won't rust. However, under certain
conditions gold will tarnish, e.g. long-term storage in boxes, bins, and or
environments containing organic sulfur compounds. In other words; James
condemns the rich for stockpiling their gold and never putting any of it to a
use beneficial to their fellow man.

The worst case scenario is the hoarding of gold that rightfully belonged to
laborers who worked to earn it.

"Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been
withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the
harvesting has reached the ears of The Lord of Sabaoth." (Jas 5:4)

James' final comment actually accuses unfair labor practices of murder
because they deprive the working man of a living wage; and of course most
of the world's working men do not challenge unfair labor practices in court
because they simply cannot afford to; and in some countries, they would risk
severe political reprisals if they dared.

"You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not
resist you." (Jas 5:6)

The "righteous man" in this context refers to people putting in an honest
day's work and not being fairly compensated for it and/or employers
contriving tricky ways to short change them by deducting trumped up
expenses from their pay. There's a lot of that goes on in the garment
industry.

It's still true even in our day that only the rich and powerful can afford
justice. However; there's a day coming when that imbalance will all come to
an end.

"He will defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the
needy; he will crush the oppressor." (Ps 72:4)

"But with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for
the afflicted of the earth" (Isa 11:4)
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Jas 5:7-8 . . Persevere, therefore, brethren, until the coming of The Lord.
Behold, the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient
about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; be strong,
for the coming of The Lord is at hand.

The koiné Greek word for "at hand" is eggizo (eng-id'-zo) which means: to
make near; viz: approach

So then, "at hand" doesn’t necessarily mean The Lord is poised to drop in
any second now, but rather, his arrival is approaching and getting nearer by
the minute.

Although James' encouragement no doubt applies to all believers, it
especially applies to his Jewish countrymen. They have been waiting, and
waiting, and waiting for God to fulfill the promises He made to Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob; and to restore David's kingdom as per the voices of the
prophets. I'm told that many have given up hope of the promises and the
predictions ever coming to pass. But James says don't give up; God is
reliable; and He and the kingdom are both worth waiting for no matter how
long it takes.

The problem is: according to 2Pet 3:9, The Lord is actually reluctant to
return; primarily because of the amount of suffering and loss of life that will
occur when he does.

Take for example Rev 16:18-19 where there's predicted a world-wide
earthquake preceding The Lord's return so severe on the Richter scale that
cities all over the world will collapse at once. Something like 2,829 lost their
lives when the World Trade Center was demolished by a terrorist attack in
2001. Well that was only a small portion of New York City. Just imagine the
body count when all of Manhattan comes down at once. along with other
major cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Mexico City, Paris, Moscow,
Beijing, Tokyo, et al. The carnage will be beyond belief. Surely nobody in a
right mind is in a rush to see all of that start to happen.
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Jas 5:9 . . Do not complain against one another, brethren, that you
yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the
door.

Although watching porn, quarrelling with a spouse, mistreating the kids,
road rage, J-walking, coasting through a stop sign, spray-painting graffiti on
a subway car, or cussing the neighbor’s dog, is bad enough; kangaroo
courting is even worse.

If there’s a personality clash between you and a fellow believer; God forbid
you should drag other people into the middle of it! And keep in mind that
God is an eavesdropper. He hears and sees everything we do, think, or say.
Don't let Him catch you maliciously shredding a fellow believer's reputation,
assassinating their character and/or running them into the ground behind
their back.
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Jas 5:10 . . For an example of suffering and patience, brethren; take the
prophets who spoke in The Lord's name.

In rock music, role models are called influences. But whatever your
preference, role models and/or influences are handy for providing a pattern
for the kinds of people we wish to be and/or the kinds of people we think we
ought to be.

One of my favorite prophets was Noah. Can you just imagine the mockery,
and the cruel remarks that poor man must have endured while he was
constructing the ark? And the feelings of futility? He was a preacher of
righteousness for 120 years (2Pet 2:5) and the only converts Noah won
were his own wife, his three sons, and their wives. When the ark embarked,
there was only a paltry eight human beings aboard.

According to Gen 6:1-2, there were other holy men on earth during Noah's
days but they sold their souls for sex and subsequently died in the Flood
right along with everybody else.

Noah was an oak; he never caved to the pressures of his era’s social
customs nor duplicated their spiritual hypocrisy. Noah held his ground,
remained true to the creation's maker; and as a result, survived the Flood
totally unharmed. He’s listed in the Bible as one of the most righteous men
who ever lived.

"Son of man, when a land sins against Me by persistent unfaithfulness, I will
stretch out My hand against it; I will cut off its supply of bread, send famine
on it, and cut off man and beast from it. Even if these three men, Noah,
Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their
righteousness: testifies The Lord God." (Ezek 14:13-14)

NOTE: Speaking of suffering and patience, I think the prophet Jerimiah
should take the prize in that contest.
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Leastamongmany

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Thank you Webber,I am humbled by your blog! James is an awesome book and your antidotes and small examples plus your commentaries has truly enlightened my minds sight! I would that EVERY soul here on cc read this work! I have faced such distain and abuse from those whom call themselves among the righteous. For one reason only, differing views on the interpretation of the word! The Lord pulled me away from here for a time because it is supposed TO BE ABOUT HIM, not us, MY righteous indignation was getting in the way of His purpose for me being here! Thank you again and Blessings!
 

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Jas 5:12 . . Above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by
earth or with any other oath; but let your yes be yes, and your no be no; so
that you may not fall under judgment.

Christ took an oath. (Matt 26:62-64, Mark 14:61-62)

God takes oaths. (Gen 22:15-18, Heb 6:13-18, Heb 7:20-21)

Angels swear (Rev 10:5-6)

Paul swore. (Rom 1:9)

Israel's covenanted law, which Christ came to defend (Matt 5:17-19)
requires oaths on special occasions. (e.g. Ex 22:10-11, Lev 5:1, Num 5:19,
Deut 29:10-15)

So then, not all oaths are wrong.

The problem is, people are too careless with their oaths. They’re wont to say
“I swear to God” and/or "Hand to God" for just about everything. And they
make promises sealed with the same words. Those promises are a snare
because like Jesus said “you cannot make one hair white or black”. Sure
enough, when you seal a promise by God's name, the forces of heaven and
hell, the stars in their courses, dumb luck, brute force, circumstances
beyond your control, and the neighbor's dog are going to make it impossible
for you to keep that promise.

Will God grant you an excuse? Probably not because In order to grant you
an excuse, He would have to compromise not only His integrity; but also the
dignity of the name by which you swore; and that He will never do.

So, it's okay to give your word on a matter, but if at all possible; avoid
attaching God's name into it.

"You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not
hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name." (Ex 20:7)
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Jas 5:13 . . Is anyone among you undergoing hardship? Let him pray.

Though Jesus' followers weren't experiencing difficulty while he was getting
ready for his destiny on the cross (Luke 22:39-46) he no doubt knew that
they were soon to undergo a stress test that would cause them to do
something really stupid if they failed to seek God's providence in what was
ahead.

Most any kind of "hardship" can cause us to become irrational, lose our
composure, and do something stupid, e.g. layoff, illness, death in the family,
old age, betrayal, divorce, legal problems, student debt, traffic incidents,
crime; etc. When that happens, it's a good idea to speak with God about the
possibility of being led into doing something really stupid.
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Jas 5:13b . . Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praises.

It's not impossible to sing when sad and depressed. A man named Horatio P.
Spafford composed a very moving hymn while recovering from the deaths of
his four daughters who drowned aboard the S.S. Ville du Havre when it sank
during a transatlantic voyage in 1873.

However, I recommend not asking the ones undergoing hardship to sing.
They're very likely not in the mood.
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Jas 5:14 . . Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the
church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of
The Lord

It's all too common for religious fanatics to allow their underage children to
die from treatable medical conditions on the basis of that verse. Where do
we draw the line with the so-called "freedom of religion" guaranteed in the
US Constitution's first amendment? Answer: We draw the line at the child's
inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; which,
according to America's Declaration of Independence; are not only God-given
rights, but also a self evident truth that men were created with those rights.

The DOI goes on to say that all men are created equal. It doesn't say grown
up men; it says all men, which means that women and children have just as
much right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as anybody else.
Parents who deny the truth of those rights are nothing in the world but
wicked despots; and in point of fact the very kinds of twisted monarchs the
DOI targets.

Christ addressed this issue indirectly by means of his teachings on the
seventh day Sabbath; which, in a nutshell, says that the seventh day was
made for man, not the other way around. (Mark 2:27)

"And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall
have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay
hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep?
Wherefore it is lawful to do good on the sabbath days." (Matt 12:11-12)

The sanctity of human life trumps the sanctity of the Sabbath. So then,
hospitals, doctors, nurses, firemen, law enforcement, soup kitchens, rescue
missions, Red Cross, Haiti emergency workers, etc. who are busy on the
Sabbath do not sin. Do they break the Sabbath? Yes; but the sanctity of the
Sabbath is secondary to the sanctity of human life.

So then, I would have to say, in accordance with Matt 12:11-12, that people
who deny their children adequate medical care in the name of religion regard
the value of their own flesh and blood as something less than that of a
beast.

It's okay to have elders pray for your child, and it's okay to anoint them with
oil as per James 5:14. But after that, parents really should take their
children to a doctor because the sanctity of human life is far more important
than strict observance of one's religious rituals.

There used to be an old saying going around in Christian circles that went
something like this: When a farmer prays for a crop, he should say amen
with a hoe. In other words, don't just sit back and wait for a miracle when
it's in your power to take some action; and if you don't, then in my opinion,
you deserve to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law when a child in
your care dies from a treatable condition.

"If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he
has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." (1Tim 5:8)
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Jas 5:16 . . Confess your sins to one another

The word "sins" is an arbitrary editorial insertion rather than a translation;
viz: it isn't in the Greek manuscripts so somebody penciled it in. So we could
safely re-translate that verse to read "Confess to one another".

There's quite a number of key words in the Bible that sometimes trigger a
knee-jerk-reflex in people's minds and "confess" is one of them. It would
seem to me that James isn't commanding Christians to confess their sins to
one another as Father Confessors for the purpose of absolution; but rather:
to simply man-up and admit when they're wrong. (cf. Matt 18:15-17).

I think testimonies would fall in this category too. In other words: own that
some of the faults we find in others are ours too. (Rom 2:1)
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Jas 5:19-20 . . My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth, and
one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error
of his way will save his soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins.

Not all sins are worthy of death (1John 5:16-17). And a sin that's fatal for
one believer may not be lethal for another. I mean, look at David; he
committed the awful sins of premeditated murder and adultery, yet God
allowed him to live (2Sam 11:1-2Sam 12:14). But when Ananias and his
wife Sapphira lied about the proceeds from the sale of their property, they
were summarily executed. (Acts 5:1-10). And in Corinth, the health of only
some was struck after desecrating The Lord's supper; while others were
executed for the same reason (1Cor 11:17-30).

Some kids are easily corrected simply by a cross glare and a stern scolding;
while other kids require a stronger hand.

I once heard a cute story of a man who would whack his mule upside the
head with a wooden stake prior to getting up on the seat of his buckboard.
Someone asked him why he hit the animal. The man replied: That was to
get his attention, otherwise he won't budge when I snap the reins and yell
giddy-up.

"I wish to instruct you, and teach you in the way you should go; I will
counsel you and watch over you. Don't be like the horse or the mule, which
have no discernment, but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will
not obey you." (Ps 32:8-9)

For some believers, a whack up alongside the head is all it takes to motivate
them to straighten up and fly right. Others are so incorrigible that only a
brush with death finally convinces them that God is serious.
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1Pet 1:13-18 . . Gird up your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your
hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus
Christ.

The koiné Greek word for "gird up" is anazonnumi (an-ad-zone'-noo-mee)
which means: to gird afresh; viz: re-gird. Webster's defines gird as: to
encircle or bind with a flexible band (as a belt).

The re-girding Peter is talking about is sort of like a man putting his pants on
in the morning and tightening his belt to hold them up. He does that every
day before he goes out the door for the day. But here we're putting on pants
in one's mind; viz: it's a daily attitude adjustment.

A purposeful life is a life with an objective; and the one objective that every
believer should keep in their mind's sights is that this life is only a stop-over.
Their permanent destination is yet to come (cf. Heb 11:8-16). So they
shouldn't get too attached to this life; rather, get themselves attached to the
next; and the next is a world ruled by a monarch who has very different
ideas than the world's in regards to good citizenship.

There used to be a popular term going around in Christian circles regarding
the "purposeful life". It's a good term, and quite the opposite of a drifter's
life; which is a life that has no purpose. Webster's defines a drifter as one
that travels and/or moves about aimlessly. In other words, a drifter is a
vagabond, which Webster's defines as somebody who leads an unsettled,
irresponsible, or disreputable life. Though believers inhabit the current earth
as pilgrims (1Pet 2:11) they're not to do so as vagabonds and/or drifters.

I have, on occasion in the past, recommended that unbelievers take a time
out to consider the possibility of their going to hell, and begin using what
time they have remaining to prepare themselves for the worst when they
pass on. Well; believers would be wise to take a time-out to consider just
the opposite; viz: their going to heaven, and begin using what time they
have remaining to prepare themselves for it when they pass on.
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1Pet 1:14-16 . . As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former
lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called
you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written: You
shall be holy, for I am holy.

"conformed" is speaking of habits. Take for example alcoholism. The popular
diagnosis these days is that it's a disease. Well; it if is, then it's the only
disease I know of practiced by fools.

"Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived
thereby is not wise." (Prov 20:1"

Alcoholism isn't a disease; it's a habit, and one of the habits that Christ's
believing followers are commanded to make a habit of avoiding. (Eph 5:18)

"You shall be holy, for I am holy" speaks of the old proverb: Birds of a
feather, flock together. So if people wish to cultivate a rapport with God;
they have to work on becoming heavenly rather than earthly because He
tends to avoid mingling with invasive species; so to speak.
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1Pet 1:17-18 . . And if you address as "Father" the one who impartially
judges according to each man's work, conduct yourselves in reverential fear
during the time of your stay upon earth

I once heard of a preacher complain that he wished his congregation were as
afraid of the Devil as they are of holiness. (chuckle). Well, obviously his
congregation lacked purpose; their attitude was that of drifters and
vagabonds. They were all believers; they had that much going for them.
They just needed somebody to throw cold water in their faces and wake
them up to getting their eyes off the ground and getting their eyes up on the
brass ring.

"So then, since you have been resurrected with Christ, set your hearts on
things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your
minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is
now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then
will you also appear with him in glory." (Col 3:1-4)

People in heaven no doubt make a habit of treating God with reverential
fear; that is: they respect both Him and His wishes. Down here, people
make a habit of insolence and rebellion; even some of the people wearing a
Christian ID tag.
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1Pet 1:22a . . Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth
through the Spirit

The grammatical tense of the words "have purified" is past rather than
future. In other words, the souls of the Christians to whom Peter penned his
epistle were already purified before it arrived.

The Greek word for "purify" generally refers to making something clean
and/or sanitized; usually by washing. It doesn't refer to sinless perfection;
for example your pots and pans and dishes may be dented, scratched, and
chipped, but they're still suitable for their intended purpose just so long as
they're clean.

Jesus once told his men "Now you are clean through the word which I have
spoken unto you" (John 15:3). His word didn't make them sinless. In other
words: they retained their various dents, scratches, and chips, so to speak;
in point of fact, Peter went on from there to deny even knowing Jesus.

Many of the Old Testament's sacrifices and offerings served to cleanse the
people of contamination brought on them by their sins, but did nothing to
make the people sinless; not even the great day of atonement Yom Kippur.
The people went right on sinning as before just as soon as the ritual was
over. So purification and sinless perfection are two very different spiritual
conditions.

This was addressed in a bit more detail back in post No.355. It's a very
important element of Christianity so it's worth taking the time to
understand.
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1Pet 1:22b . . See that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently

The koiné Greek word for "pure" in this case is katharos (kath-ar-os') which
means: lacking impurities; which can be illustrated by tap water versus
distilled water. Tap water contains impurities like chlorine and various
metallic and non metallic elements; whereas distilled water consists of
nothing but hydrogen and oxygen; viz: H2O

I think what Peter is saying that believers be on guard against hypocrisy;
viz: one's lips mouthing love for their fellow believers while in their hearts
actually thinking very little of them.

For example; my wife and I were once invited over to the home of a fellow
Sunday school couple for dinner. When we arrived, guess what? An AMWAY
manager was all set up and waiting for us. The dinner invitation was a bait
and switch to conceal the Sunday school couple's scheme to lure us into
signing on with AMWAY.

That was not an exhibition of pure, fervent love; but rather an exhibition of
dishonesty, deceit, and ulterior motives. That couple was friendly and cordial
enough in Sunday school, but away from church they were covert and
predatory; taking advantage of the good nature of their fellow Christians to
snare them in a commercial venture.

"Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." (Matt 5:8)
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1Pet 2:1-3 . .Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy,
and all evil speaking; as newborn infants, desire the pure milk of the word,
that you may grow thereby.

Oftentimes it's a good idea to read the Bible with a dictionary at hand
because words like malice, deceit, hypocrisy, and envy tend to fly right past
our eyes without giving them much thought.

Here in 1Pet 2:1-3 certain toxic behaviors are categorized as junk food,
which is not the kind of nourishment one should be feeding a growing child;
as if they could even digest it. So then, believers who neglect to study the
Bible --and learn what is, and what is not, appropriate behavior for a
believer --are certain to end up stunting the spiritual growth of the new self
they obtained via their second birth as per Jesus' testimony at John 3:3-8.

An especially ugly behavior Peter listed is envy; which Webster's defines as:
painful, or resentful, awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another,
coupled with a desire to possess the same advantage. In other words, envy
is the root of rivalry which is one of the most destructive human passions
there is. Cain killed his brother Abel out of a spirit of rivalry.

"Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And
wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's
righteous." (1John 3:12)

It was a spirit of rivalry that led to The Lord's crucifixion.

"And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. Therefore,
when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them: Whom do you want
me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ? For he knew
that they had handed Him over because of envy." (Matt 27:16-18)

Webster's defines "rivalry" as: 1) to be in competition with and, 2) to strive
to equal or excel.

Envy not only breeds rivalry, but other toxins too like spite; which Webster's
defines as: petty ill will, malice, or hatred coupled with the disposition to
irritate, annoy, or thwart; which is defined as: to defeat the hopes and
aspirations of another. In other words, thwart's intent is to discourage
someone, to break their spirit and make them lose heat and/t lose respect
for themselves. Needless to say, a spiteful person is a person so bitter that
they're unable to feel pity, compassion, or sympathy; which is a bad thing
because pity, compassion, and sympathy are highly blessing-worthy.

"Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." (Matt 5:7)

People prone to envy share a very common denominator: they simply must
be either equal to, or better than, others. It's that simple. And if they cannot
be equal to, or better than others, then nothing would make them happier
than to see those others failed, maimed, silenced, disfigured, dishonored,
disgraced, humiliated, handicapped for life and/or deceased.

Yes, envy is a very, very ugly beast: there's no love in envy, only hatred
mingled with malicious feelings and imaginations. Where's the Good
Samaritan in that? A cute fable. Where's turning the other cheek? Out of
vogue. Where's the golden rule? A cliché.
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