Staying Free From the Dangerous Trap Called 'Greed'
"Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own." – Jesus, Luke 12:15
Greed is a dangerous trap that destroys the lives of its victims. Some may think of it as an obvious, blatant trait that can easily be spotted. In reality, however, it is a vicious character flaw that also works in subtlety, working stealthily to rob a person of life and joy.
Proverbs 1:17-19 gives us a stern warning about the dangers of greed:
"Surely, in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird; But they lie in wait for their own blood, they lurk secretly for their own lives. So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; it takes away the life of its owners."
Greed as a Trap
Greed works as a trap that catches unassuming people and keeps them held in bondage over their desires. It's a silent danger that lurks hidden beneath the sight of those who are caught in its grip.
People who are greedy fall into a myriad of problems in their lives, because greed seems to invite a host of other issues. Here are but some of them:
• Greed for money might cause a person to accept bribes and participate in other unlawful means to gain more money.
• Greed for material gain might push a person to steal, cheat, deceive, and do other sly things to gain more material wealth and property.
• Greed for power might push a person to ignore the law, step on the rights of others, and be oppressive. In short, bullying.
• Greed for attention or fame might cause a person to do all sorts of things, even unrighteous ones, to gain the desired attention and fame.
• Greed, in general, will blind anyone to its dangers, leading its victims to soaring debts or ungodly relationships.
Greed also destroys a person's most important relationships: first with God, then with his family, then with his friends, and then his community. While some might disagree, the truth is that greed makes a person self-centred and thus unlikeable and unworthy of emulating.
Staying Free From Greed
The Bible has several instructions about staying away from bad company (which includes the greedy), and putting off covetousness which is simply the desire to get another person's belongings. Here are but some of them.
• "You must not steal." (Exodus 20:15)
• "You must not covet your neighbour's house. You must not covet your neighbour's wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbour." (Exodus 20:17)
• "Do not eat the bread of a selfish man, or desire his delicacies." (Proverbs 23:6)
• "How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!" (Psalm 1:1)
• "My child, if sinners entice you, turn your back on them!" (Proverbs 1:10)
• "Do not be deceived: "Bad company corrupts good morals." (1 Corinthians 5:33)
• "But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person." (1 Corinthians 5:11)
Stay free from personal greed, as well as away from the company of greedy people. Save yourself from such heartache.
"But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows." – 1 Timothy 6:9-10