Jealousy and it's other friends
While the first part of the blog dealt with what is jealousy and what causes us to get jealous, today's blog talks about how jealousy affects other areas of our life.
How jealousy affects different areas in your life
Jealously is not a standalone emotion. It has many companions. Hatred, anger, envy are emotions that accompany jealousy. Once you allow it to take root, it will slowly seep into other areas of your life.
- Jealousy in the Family
Cain and Abel. The Bible’s first brothers. The Bible’s first
sons and also the Bible’ first look at jealousy.
The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Genesis 5
We see another example of jealousy here. Was Abel special? Was he better than Cain? Did God give him more gifts? More sheep? No the Bible says, And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock.
Why did his brother then get jealous of him? Why was he angry and his face downcast? Simple. His brother gave God his best. And God is a fair God. So if God didn’t look with favour on Cain’s gift then it means that the gifts weren’t up to God’s standard. Cain could have tried again, apologized to God and promised a better offering the next harvest? We see in verse 7 that God even warns Cain, sin is crouching at your door. In spite of that, his jealousy drives him to kill his brother.
In this story, Abel isn’t better than Cain, nor does it say anywhere that their father loved him more. In this case jealousy arises because one brother didn’t want to do the hard work of presenting a good gift to God, he wanted to get by an inferior gift but his plan didn’t work. He got caught and instead of remorse or regret, we see a pure and unadulterated jealousy that leads to murder.
2. Jealousy at the workplace
When David returned from killing the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, playing songs of joy on timbrels. 7 The women sang as they played, and said, “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” 8 Then Saul became very angry. This saying did not please him. He said, “They have given David honor for ten thousands, but for me only thousands. Now what more can he have but to be king?” 9 And Saul was jealous and did not trust David from that day on. - 1 Samuel 18:6
How did David go from being hero to villain in Saul’s eyes? Shouldn’t Saul have been proud of his newest recruit who was slaying the enemy and bringing victory after victory? David’s success should have made the king proud, but instead of the king beaming with pride he was simmering with jealousy. And all because of a song? Did David write the song? No he was just doing his duty to his king and country.
So what we see here is what started as jealousy, led to paranoia, insomnia, fear and even reaching out to the occult, and finally death.
He started out with being anointed by Samuel, chosen by God, that should have been enough to satisfy him all the days of his life, rather he just couldn’t overcome his jealousy of a young boy half his age and that led to his downfall.
Is his story your story? Is there someone from your workplace that you are jealous of? Somebody whose skills you wish you had, ivy league education, dress sense, favour with the employer or other employees? Remember nothing good will ever come of it. It will rob you of joy and leave you with sleepless nights.
3. Jealousy in church
Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings? - 1 Corinthians 3:1-4
Churches have become the new breeding ground for jealousy. Priests and Pastors are jealous of other churches, the ones with a 1000+ congregation and a bank balance that ensures no sleepless nights or charity drives - church members are jealous of other members, the ones that wear designer clothes and drive in BMWs, youth are jealous of other youth – the ones that are always leading worship because of their amazing voices and proficiency on several instruments.
Instead of looking at God, hearing His voice and praying for each other’s needs, it becomes a place where each one is checking the other out. Soon love, joy, and peace is replaced with discontentment, gossip, and envy.
The only way to guard yourself from this kind of jealousy is to pray and focus on God. Keep your eyes literally on God. Whether you have a church of 100 or 10 remember it’s the Lord’s church, if you have only rags to wear to church, God is looking at your heart and listening to your praise, so just enjoy your time in church.
Don't miss the last and final part of the blog on jealousy - How God responds to jealousy
by Jacqueline Olivia
Jacqueline Olivia works for a Bangalore based publishing company. She enjoy good discussions on spiritual and non spiritual topics. She loves animals, reading, illustrating and making new friends