The Evils of Coveting

The first weekend of May I was at a writing conference in Oklahoma City, OK.  While at the conference I had the pleasure of meeting a gentleman whom I’d read on the blog of his literary agency (Hartline Literary Agency, www.hartlineliterary.com ) where he is an agent.  The gentleman’s name is Terry Burns and he’s a unique individual.  (He’s also a dead ringer for my mom’s cousin, Bob McCleary, right down to the western dress, his voice, and his mustache.)  Terry is also a many times over published author and his writing on the blog shows he’s quite accomplished.

The subject of the particular entry was “ A bigger deal is getting away” He wrote about how he answered authors that were hesitant to accept a particular book deal for fear that they might lose a bigger, better deal. His answer is, and I quote, “Let me set your mind at ease, a bigger one IS getting away.” In the publishing business, unless your name is Steven King, Tom Clancy, Dale Brown, etc., you’re ALWAYS going to have a better deal get away. That’s just the way it is.  It’s up to your agent to negotiate the best deal they think they can and then it’s up to YOU to realize that while it may not be the absolute best deal in the world, if it wasn’t a GOOD deal then they wouldn’t be recommending it and you need to learn to accept that.

As I was reading Terry’s musings on the subject, my mind explored just how true that was in so many aspects of our lives.  What it boils down to, at least to me, is Coveting.  Whether you believe in God and the Ten Commandments or not, few would disagree that to covet is a very bad thing.  In fact, I’d say it’s probably one of the worst things because it leads to so many other evils in our lives and the world.  Think about it for a minute.  Why do people commit adultery?  Because they covet another person’s spouse.  Why do they steal?  Because they covet someone else’ money.  Why do they kill?  Because they covet someone else’ life.  Heck, why do we start wars, in many cases?  Because one nation covets the resources or property of another.

To covet something points out just how dissatisfied with our own lives we really are in many cases.  It’s the root of why we never feel like we got the best deal.  We always covet the deal that we heard someone else got that might be better.  This directly relates to what I see happening in the United States today.  We have let the coveting of others’ possessions rule our lives instead of earning and working for what we have.  An excellent example is the recent debate on health care and more specifically, health insurance.

There is no doubt that a certain, small number of citizens cannot afford to pay for their own adequate health insurance.  The numbers vary on the uninsured in the US but generally it boils down to about 10% of our population, but not all of those people can’t afford to have health insurance, they simply choose NOT to have health insurance.  We all know of people that have 2, 3, or more cars and no health insurance.  They might have boats and other toys as well, but say they can’t afford health insurance.  These people first covet what others have in the way of material goods (cars, boats, atv’s, TV’s, etc.) to the point that they ignore the true needs of their family and when they realize they should have something like health insurance, they covet the actual coverage others have worked so hard, and paid for, often forgoing the same luxuries and toys.  While I believe that as a compassionate society we should help those that truly can’t afford their own insurance, I do not feel we are obligated to feed the covetous nature of those that simply have priorities that keep them from buying their own health insurance.

Coveting what someone else has is simply another way of saying I won’t be responsible for my own decisions and since someone else has it, I should have it as well.  I’m sorry, but that’s not true, and the sooner we cut that cycle of covetous dependency the sooner we can get our country back on the path the founding fathers intended.

-john stricker

Published in: on May 11, 2010 at 3:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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