Benediction Online

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Humility, Gratitude and Gift

It is said that one of Jill’s ancestors disliked visitors. So he created a device which enabled him to rattle chains in the attic. When he tired of his guests he would rattle the chains and declare that they had better leave fast for the devil was coming…. Did I mention that he was a pirate? It’s perfectly true, or so Jill’s uncle told us. Jill’s uncle JR was a really good storyteller. When you listened to one of his tales you could never be sure where fact ended and story began.

Jesus was a lot like uncle JR. He told a good tale. So it’s important to remember that some of what he said was for the sake of the story and not to be taken literally. Some of us hearing today’s gospel might think that we are meant to berate ourselves and declare ourselves miserable sinners and less than worms in order to have God pay any attention to us at all. And so we justify giving ourselves guilt trips and feeding our feelings of shame and inadequacy.      I don’t for a moment think that that’s what Jesus is saying; rather he is painting a dramatic and humorous contrast between the two men, who are almost cartoon characters, not recommending that we always approach God as if we are worthless. After all, God sent his only Son that we might have life – if God loves us that much we are not at all worthless – we’re worth God’s Son.

The Pharisee is also a humorous larger than life figure – the true self-made man. This character is so full of himself that when he prays he reminds God of his own achievements, of how much he has made of his life, of how virtuous he is and how much better than others. Clearly we don’t want to be like him!

The moral of the story is that God loves those who are humble, but how are we to understand humility if it’s not making ourselves out to be miserable sinners?

We know that the heart of God is compassion, and so as we draw closer to God so we get to cultivate a habit of compassion which includes compassion for ourselves. Having compassion for ourselves means being able to take a step back and see ourselves clearly and honestly and with a touch of loving humor, just as we might see an old friend. Humility is having a clear, compassionate vision of our abilities as well as our failings, our flashes of brilliance as well as our bad habits, our foibles as well as our giftedness.

But beyond that, humility is the knowledge that we cannot do it alone, that there really is no such thing as a self-made man or woman - that we are totally dependent upon God who gives us breath, God who gives us consciousness, God in whom we live and move and have our being.

I think it’s difficult to find our bearings on this path of humility. A little like trying to get your sea legs – we find ourselves over-inflated – the ego doing its thing again - and so we over-compensate by being too self-critical, and then we correct that only to find that now we are feeling superior and judging others. Perhaps the mark of the mature Christian is the ability to be centered in a true humility which has a firm grip on the realities of our spiritual natures as the sons and daughters of the living God as well as our limitations of body and personality.

Being able to maintain the balance of humility means having a clear picture of oneself, but no longer needing to make comparisons. It means no longer needing to feel superior or to compare ourselves with others, because our primary relationship is with God and we rest secure on the knowledge of God’s never-ending love. From this humility comes a confidence and security which is rooted and grounded in God’s love and does not need to judge others. The awareness of one’s own failings is balanced by the experience of confession, forgiveness and absolution. We are human, and the more Christ-like we become the more we will see and know our limitations and our failings and also see them as another opportunity to open ourselves to God’s love.

But since humility is grounded primarily in the relationship with God, it brings with it tremendous joy because it is part of that never-ending heavenly song of love and praise which sounds wherever God is present. And from that swelling up of gratitude and hope and praise comes the desire to give all that we are. This is a God-given desire for God in Jesus gave everything for us, and as we come to appreciate that more and more so we find ourselves swept up into the divine song of gift.

That connection between humility, gratitude and gift means that we can approach humility from a number of different ways. We can come at it directly by noticing when we are judging others and choosing instead to pray for forgiveness for ourselves and joy for them. We can also back into it by cultivating praise and self-giving. One caution here; the cartoon Pharisee in Jesus’ story thought he was praising God by saying, thank you that I am not as others are, thank you that I am superior to them. That is not praise. Praise is about God not about me.

One of our members once said that she cannot believe that God is really sitting around waiting for us to pat him on the back and praise him with a “Well done, jolly good job, God”.  I agree. That is not what praise is about.

Praise is about our joyful adoration of our Creator. God alone is worthy to be praised and worshiped. When we praise God we are joining in that heavenly chorus and we ourselves are uplifted and sustained. This is not a reward for God’s work well-done but a joyful acknowledgement that without God nothing, including us, would exist. Without God the cosmos is not even a single subatomic particle.

Praise and humility are like two sides of the same coin. When we are praising God there is no room for our little egos to get in the way. When we are practicing humility we see clearly the wonder of God and our own relative insignificance. And from these two comes the desire to give because we know that everything we are and everything we have is a God-given gift for us to share and that in sharing the gift grows.

This is quite contrary to most economic theory which deals with a world of scarcity. In the world of spirit, when we give we are adding to the cycle of energy and as we give so what we have increases. We may not have so many toys, we may not have such a big house as we would had we hoarded our love and our money and our talents for ourselves, but the quality of our life in God and in love constantly grows.
Thus, as we grow into mature followers of Jesus we aim for praise, humility and self-giving. They are so interwoven that wherever we start we increase all three. Let us ask the Spirit of God who teaches us how to pray to teach us to praise and to increase in us the spiritual fruits of humility, self-giving, and a sense of humor. Just like Jesus.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Prayer and the Unjust

Genesis 32:22-31

Well, there are parables and parables, and at first sight this is not one of Jesus’ best. Luke tells us that it’s about persistence in prayer, which suggests that the widow is us and the judge is God. What an unfortunate picture of God! God is like an unjust judge – God is like someone who doesn’t want justice, who doesn’t care about fairness, but who can be persuaded by sufficient nagging to do what we, represented by the widow, want. God is reluctant to give his children good things but if we just beg enough he will grudgingly do so… I don’t think so.

That’s not the picture of God I get from the rest of the scriptures, and it’s not my picture of prayer either. In fact it’s a very problematic picture of prayer because it suggests that if we just pray hard enough and long enough then God will give us what we want. So if you have cancer and it doesn’t go away it’s your own fault for not praying hard enough or well enough. Which is simply not true. In this world stuff happens including accident, illness and disease. This picture also suggests that God is sitting on his throne in some other place deciding who gets what, pulling the strings as though we were puppets, not beings with free will.

So what is prayer, and why do we pray? Like love, prayer is many different things. But love is a good place to start. Prayer is an expression of love… when we pray prayers of adoration, praise and gratitude we are expressing our love of God… when we pray for others we are demonstrating our love for them… when we sink into contemplative prayer we are connecting with God’s love.

Humans are made in God’s image and we are highly creative. God creates by God’s word and to a large extent we too create through the use of language. If I tell you that I like you and appreciate your being around, you will feel a lot better about being with me than if I tell you that I don’t like you and wish you weren’t in my life. My words create a response in you which makes you feel and therefore behave differently. Often we create difficult interpersonal situations by the story we tell ourselves about them. If we tell ourselves that the other person is hostile then we come into every interaction already defensive. Our thoughts create. We can’t control many of the circumstances of our lives, but we can change how we think and feel about them.

I remember my mother groaning after a meal and saying, “Oh dear, now I have to do the washing-up.” I used to groan after a meal and think “Oh dear, now I have to do the dishes.” One day I noticed that other people just did the dishes and so I experimented. I found it was much easier to do them if I didn’t groan and complain beforehand. I had been using language to make the situation more difficult.

If language is creative, then our prayers too are creative. I think that when we pray we align our wills with divine will and that gives God energy she can use in the ongoing creative process of redemption. It is as though She is painting a picture using a medium which is constantly moving – when we pray we help the medium to move in the direction of God’s vision.  This is true when we are praying a prayer of longing as well as when we are praying a prayer for someone else or seeking God in contemplation.

The first reading, about Jacob wrestling with a man who he then perceives as God, is often seen as an image of our prayer lives. There comes a time, perhaps many over a lifetime, when we have to get down and dirty with God. A time when our longing for God becomes the most important thing in our lives, or a time when God is calling us so intently that it seems like a demand or even a command. As we practice love through prayer in any or all of its many forms, so we draw closer to God and in that relationship the need for our transformation becomes more and more apparent. We are invited, urged, to surrender to God. We are called to become the servants of Christ, not thoughtless automatons, but creative and liberated people whose full creative ability and will is dedicated to working for the kindom of God. The process of becoming Christ-like is not an easy, gentle path but one which needs courage, persistence and dedication.

Which brings us back to the persistent widow. It may be that the problem with this parable is not the parable itself but Luke’s introduction. He says, “Jesus told his disciples a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. “ Maybe that’s not quite what it’s about. Maybe it’s about the need to keep working for the reign of God and not to give up.

In the reign of God there is fairness. Everyone lives peacefully and has all that they need to be fully alive and flourishing. In the reign of God there are no structures of injustice, no discrimination, no lack of power.  I don’t need to tell you that we’re a long way from that.

It is our job to continue to work in whatever way we can, to bring the reign of God on earth. It is our job to continue to stand up against injustice whenever we see it. It is our job to speak out. It is our job to pray. All of these are important.

I imagine that the people Luke was writing for saw injustice around them in unfair laws which discriminated against them. Some would have been living in places where the laws were not implemented, either through lack of ability or as a result of corruption – people like the unjust judge were commonplace. Think Afghanistan today. In some ways the world we live in is quite different. Laws abound and on the whole are followed. We wear our seatbelts, we don’t usually steal… if you read the sheriff’s logs in the Bay News there seems to be very little crime. Yet there are still massive injustices in the country and there are massive injustices in our global society.

I read this morning that there are 29.6 million slaves in theworld. That’s as many people as live in Australia and Denmark combined. Slavery doesn’t look today as it did in Roman times so it’s less conspicuous, but it’s nonetheless real. It’s a silent crime – the victims almost never come forward. It’s estimated that more than 15,000 people are trafficked into the United States each year. Some enter legally, with a visa and a job. But once inside the country, they are forced to repay recruitment fees, the cost of their travel, accommodation bills. As a result, they end up working an incredible number of hours, seven days a week, without being paid, in the impossible attempt to repay a debt which will never be settled.

Human trafficking and slavery is one form of injustice. I know you can name many others. As Christians, we are called to be as persistent as the widow in working against injustice. We are called to pray and we are also called to speak out. The widow did not just stay home and pray, she kept bothering the judge – the one who could do something about the injustice. It is not enough that we pray for those in need, we are also called to use our energy to do something to change our national and global society so that injustice becomes a thing of the past.

I invite you to find something you are passionate about and work at it, contribute money to the organizations which are making a difference, write to your representatives, write to the papers, talk to people about it. Make a fuss. And never forget to pray.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

No Outcasts

Back in the day when Dennys was still at the end of Los Osos Valley Road near the freeway, and you could get a grand slam breakfast for $2.99, I was filling up the car with gas when I was approached by a young man who said he needed money for to get breakfast. I didn’t have much cash but I emptied my pockets, searched deep in the bottom of my purse, and under the seats of the car. Eventually I came up with $2.99 for a grand slam plus another $1.50 for coffee and tax. Pleased to be able to help I gave him the money and told him how to get to Denny’s. Yet as I drove away I saw him approach another customer for money.

In today’s gospel reading, Jesus is approached by ten lepers. These unfortunate people suffered from what we now call Hanson’s disease. Known to humans for thousands of years, this disease went untreated in biblical times and caused permanent damage to skin, nerves, limbs and eyes, compromised the immune system, and hastened death. Though it is now known to be only mildly infectious, the ancients considered it highly contagious and forced lepers to stay away from others, identifying their condition by announcing, “Unclean. Unclean,” when approached.

As a result, they were excluded from society and forced to make their own communities. They became dead men walking – at the mercy of others, ostracized, alienated from the richness of family life and the comfort of communal religious practices. Lepers were outcasts who bound themselves to one another out of necessity because no one else would touch them or even come near. All that mattered was their disease. They were identified as unclean, as different. Their disease was such a strong identifier that one of the lepers in the story was actually a Samaritan who would have been a hated and shunned foreigner in regular Jewish society.[1]
It was this man, only the foreigner, who praised God and came back to thank Jesus. The others were too busy getting to the health authorities to show that they were now clean and could return to their families.

This lack of gratitude doesn’t stop Jesus healing people; in a page or two we’ll find him healing a blind beggar, another outcast. Jesus does not judge the nine lepers who were in such a hurry that they forgot to express their wonder and gratitude.

As disciples of Jesus this must give us pause.

We are living in a time when the leaders of our nation can shutdown the government in an argument over providing affordable healthcare. We are living in a time when the poor are portrayed as the problem, when benefits to the neediest are the first to suffer from cutbacks. We are living in a time when undocumented immigrants are so scapegoated that even to give them a ride or serve them at a soup kitchen could become a criminal act.[2] It is easy for us to get caught up in this mindset and start to judge those who are begging, those who are living by the creeks and under the bridges, those who are mentally ill and those who are disabled.

Sometimes people behave in ways we don’t like – like asking for money for breakfast and then not immediately using it, or not wanting the sandwich or the coffee we want to give them – but they are still beloved children of God.

As the followers of Jesus, we are called to respond with humility and compassion, and to work for a society in which there are no outcasts. That’s a really hard thing to do, because it is part of human nature to gather in groups and make those groups stronger by talking about how other groups and other people are not so good. It’s part of human nature to scapegoat people who are different from us and blame them for the problems we experience.

It’s part of human nature, but it is a part that does not stand up to the light of the Gospel. Our mission is to work for a day when all beings will be reconciled with God and with each other and we further that when we bless those who fail to thank us, when we bless those whose behavior we don’t like, when we bless those who are outcast, and work to bring them back into society. This requires a change of heart which goes against our natural inclinations, and which goes against the messages we get from the media.

It’s much easier to help people who are grateful. It’s much easier to talk to people who respond in a positive way. Sometimes we walk our dog, Shadow, in the hills above Los Osos and we park on Bayview Heights Road. Naturally, we frequently meet other people with their dogs. One man in particular seems often to be there at the same time that we are, and when we first met him he was usually in a bad mood. One day he yelled at me because he didn’t like the way I had parked my car, and then zoomed off in his pick-up with a great screeching of tires. After that we avoided him and when we met just said a quick greeting and kept going. The other day I saw him sitting in the vet’s office. I plucked up my courage and asked about his dog, expecting a gruff response. Instead he gave me a lovely smile and we reminisced about dogs we have loved. He could have been a different person. I don’t know what made the difference. I don’t know what may have happened in his personal life to make him so angry all those months ago. I’m just glad that I didn’t just say oh no and look the other way in the vet’s waiting room.

He isn’t an outcast, he’s just a normal guy with a pick-up and a dog. But my inclination was to ignore him and pretend that we had never met. For once I was able to do the other thing, the more Christ-like thing, and attempt to be open to him as a fellow human being without the baggage of our past interaction.

There are millions of people in the world who are outcasts. There are thousands of ways that we can help them. And it’s important to do whatever we can and whatever God calls us to do. The most important thing is that like the Samaritan who came back, we have a change of heart. Of course, like the Samaritan, we are called to praise God for all the ways in which we experience healing and blessing, and even for the times when we don’t. But the big change of heart which Jesus shows us, is to refuse to scapegoat, to refuse to see others as less than we are, to refuse to judge. The big change of heart is to remember that, but for the grace of God, we could be in their position. The big change of heart is to see Christ in all beings.

That is the path of compassion. That is the path of Jesus.

True Love

John 15:9-17

A sermon preached at the renewal of vows of Brian Spolarich and Alan Kiste.

What a wonderful treat and honor it is to be here today to witness Alan and Brian renewing their covenant vows to each other and getting legally married!! It’s the first gay wedding at St Benedict’s when I have been able to say “according to the power vested in me by the State of California…” So this is a particular joy – the opportunity given to us to celebrate and to embrace Brian and Alan’s commitment to each other, and to get involved ourselves. For going to a wedding is no longer a spectator sport. In a few minutes I’ll be asking y’all “will you uphold and honor this couple and respect the covenant they make? Will you pray for them in times of trouble and celebrate with them in times of joy? And I expect you to mean it when you say “We will.”

We are becoming increasingly aware of the interdependence of our common life as the human species and also the web that connects all the parts of our planetary and interplanetary system. None of us exists in isolation, even though we may feel cut off and alone from time to time. That web of connection means that Alan and Brian’s relationship is not just something for the two of them to enjoy privately behind closed doors but is a gift to us all and one that we get to cherish and nurture and respect, so that it may be a gift to the whole world.

In the gospel reading we heard Jesus talking to his disciples in the final hours before his death. He’s talking about love and relationship, and he says, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” Since he was about to be killed we often think “no one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” is about martyrdom, or about some great heroic action, but I want to suggest that it’s rather more mundane.

Jesus’ death was an important demonstration of his love, but it was the culmination of a life lived out of love; it was the logical conclusion of his earthly journey – anything else would have been against his own integrity. Jesus’ love was lived out in all the small everyday ways that humans show their love. He has been called the Love-Maker because his way of living was itself a new way of loving. God’s love is shown to us in Jesus who was a demonstration of how we can live in oneness and harmony with the spirit of life.

His entire life was lived in service to others. His basic orientation was one of loving service. Jesus’ life was lived for his friends and for the strangers who came to him for ministry. This is the model that we are called to follow. We are called to live our lives in loving mutual service to our friends and in hospitality and service to all those God sends to us. Christian marriage has both those aspects; mutual love and service to one another and loving service to the world. It is for mutual love and nurturing, it is for challenging the areas where we need to grow - it is not for circling the wagons and keeping everyone else out.

My spouse, Jill, was nine during the Bay of Pigs crisis in the early sixties. Fearing the worst, her father built a bomb shelter in the backyard. It was just big enough for their family and supplies. Jill was concerned about the neighbors who didn’t have a bomb shelter – what she asked her mother, would happen if the Grishams came by and wanted to come in too? “Oh,” her mother replied cheerily, “your father will shoot them.”

That is not a picture of living your life in service to others! But it highlights the dilemma of balance. Inadequate self-care is not loving others. Every couple needs to nurture their own relationship and look after their family both given and chosen, as well as serving the world around them. I know that this is something that Alan and Brian have already learned, and I trust that as a community we will continue to honor their relationship by respecting the times when they need to say no in order to provide the balance they need. At the same time, I know that as they continue to grow and mature together, they will continue to find new ways to find fulfillment in hospitality and service to those around them.

Laying down our lives for our friends is first and foremost an inner attitude. It is a continual process of living generously and open-heartedly, focusing on that which builds the common good, rather than on that which divides; sharing our resources and living lightly on the planet rather than acquiring newer and bigger toys, and making sure that we are okay even if it means shooting our neighbors!

A successful marriage is one in which both partners are constantly learning how to live more generously, giving of themselves more deeply and passionately, and so a happy marriage becomes a powerful symbol of God’s love for us. In the covenant between these two men we see a reflection of the covenant that is possible between God and humanity in which both flourish in mutual love and friendship.

We think of God as a Trinity of three persons, Creator Word and Holy Spirit engaged in an ongoing dance of love and joy and creativity. My prayer for Brian and Alan is that their marriage will always be a Trinity – an ongoing dance of love and joy and creativity with the Holy Spirit as their dancing partner.

And now as we continue the blessing of their renewed vows to one another, let us take today as an opportunity also to re-commit ourselves to living lives which dance out of love and are a gift of ourselves to our world.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

A Vision for the Appointed Time

Habakkuk 1:1-4, 2:1-4
Psalm 37:1-10

It sounds like he's been watching the evening news - "God, why do you make me see wrong-doing and look at trouble? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise.” Nothing is known about the prophet Habakkuk yet his words ring as true today as they did in the seventh century before the Common Era. It is our cry whenever we watch the news, whenever we hear about the shutdown of government, the contention in Washington, the war in Syria, US raids in Africa, details of the Westgate Mall massacre… whenever we hear about the difficulties and horrors of our global society we wonder why? Why? “Why do you make me see wrong-doing and look at trouble? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise.”

The prophet waits for a response to his complaint, and this is what he hears God say:
…there is still a vision for the appointed time;
it speaks of the end, and does not lie.
If it seems to tarry, wait for it;
it will surely come, it will not delay.
Look at the proud!
Their spirit is not right in them,
but the righteous live by their faith.

Two thousand seven hundred years later I think we can be forgiven for feeling that it has tarried long enough.

Again and again the Bible tells us that the wicked perish and the righteous live, but in reality it doesn’t seem true. We all know wonderful people who have died young and quite repellant people who seem to go on forever. There are no guarantees. Evil-doers flourish.

Does this dissonance between the words of the Scriptures and our lived experience mean that we should throw the Bible out with the bathwater?

The disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith. Was this because they could no longer believe the Scriptures? I don’t think so, because Jesus never asked them to believe in a list of faith statements. Jesus never taught that we should believe in the virgin birth or that we should believe that God will send all evildoers to an early grave. But he certainly took for granted the presence of a personal, loving God, and I imagine that the disciples seeing this depth of conviction in him longed to have the same connection with the divine themselves.

Jesus’ faith was not a belief in the unseen supernatural, but a faith that the person he knew as Father would always love him and would not let him down. Even though I am sure he had inkling that he would be betrayed by his friends and die a horrible death, he knew with Habbakuk that there was “still a vision for the appointed time” and he trusted that it would happen in God’s love.

When we go through times of change in our lives, especially when we are dealing with disappointments and illness, sometimes even when the changes are positive, our faith is challenged. The way we have understood things to be changes. We retire and our life is no longer so structured and focused - it may even seem somewhat futile - and our faith no longer fits so well. Our trust in God working in our lives wavers, because things are so different. We find ourselves unemployed and the providence we have always experienced from a loving God seems to have disappeared. Our health is compromised and when we hurt and ache it’s difficult to feel God’s love in the same way. How can God allow this to happen? we wonder. If God really loved us wouldn’t he “give us our heart’s desire” just as the psalmist proclaims?

Things change and our trust, our faith wavers. This is quite normal. Our relationships with each other change as we do, so why would we expect our relationship with God to always stay exactly the same? It can be difficult to have trust and faith in an all-compassionate, unconditionally loving God who wants only the best for all of creation when all of creation seems to be going to hell in a hand basket.

There seem to be two main ways that we try to solve the problem of God’s love in the face of evil, pain and change. One is to say that God is limited by the rules of living in this world and that She can only work through humans; the other is to say that this “world is not our home, we’re just a-passing through” and everything will be fair and just and lovely in the world to come. I suspect that there is some truth in both solutions but they both have shadow sides. If we say that God is limited by the rules then we are imagining a God who is not completely free. Yet it’s clear from all our understandings of the divine that God is radically free. Free to do or not to do, free to respond or not to respond. I think that may be the underlying sense of the second part of today’s gospel reading about the status of servants – who are we to tell God what to do?
On the other hand, if we say that this is just a temporary world and we’ll get our reward in heaven then it’s much easier to justify a throwaway society, it’s much easier to justify oppressing others because it’s only temporary. There is little reason to throw yourself passionately into life here, because it’s just a waiting game.
Perhaps the answer is both more complex and more simple than either “solution”.

When you make an etching, you cover the metal with a waxy, acid resistant substance and you scratch away the wax where you want the acid to make a mark. Then you dip the whole thing in acid. Now when you clean off the wax you have grooves in the metal which can take ink and when paper is pressed against them you get a print.

What if our lives, and the whole of created existence, are like the process of etching? What if every time we come from a place of genuine love we are making a mark in the wax but every time we come from hate or indifference it simply doesn’t make a dent? So the way we live here becomes vitally important because the more we act from love the more we create the beautiful picture which is the reign of God - the true reality both now and in the world to come. The “vision for the appointed time” is not just a lovely idea for the future but something which is being created today, here and now, in the lives of God’s people as we learn to trust more and more, as our faith changes and increases. If that is true, we do not need to fret ourselves over evil-doers, because however big and scary their tactics are, they are not even making a mark on the wax – they have no impact on the etching that is the work of eternity. That is the province of the people of the God of Love.

If that is anything close to a picture of truth then we need to pay close attention to the qualities of love. Love is not being polite. Love is not caring for one’s own family and then blocking others out. Love positions mind and spirit to be of service to God and to others. Love is an attitude of gentle and humorous compassion. Love is generous and stretches us to be more than we can imagine. Love can be practiced in community and in solitude through prayer and through learning deep yet tough minded compassion with oneself. Perhaps the highest love is when we can allow the spirit of God to love through us, so that we become a channel for God’s limitless love and truth to touch those around us and be grounded in this world.

This is the love that builds the eternal reign of God.

As a next step in learning to love, let us attempt to practice the words of the psalmist:
Be still before the LORD *
and wait patiently for him.
Do not fret yourself over the one who prospers, *
the one who succeeds in evil schemes.
Refrain from anger, leave rage alone; *
do not fret yourself; it leads only to evil.