Jealousy – The Green-Eyed Monster
You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.
We’ve all heard the phrase “green-eyed monster” and we automatically know that it has to do with jealousy. Why green? Perhaps, as it is often thought, the color green is associated with sickness or infection. I remember when my daughter was small she had fallen and skinned both her knees very badly. We had to keep them clean but when they scabbed over, they also became infected underneath and green began to ooze out. That was all I had to see before almost meeting the floor! I can handle a lot of things but there are some things that will cause my legs to go weak. Praise God I held on and poured peroxide over it. As she is more of a trooper than I was, my daughter wanted to pour the peroxide on her wounds, I guess, making the pain easier if she cleansed it than mom! So when we look at jealousy, we can determine it is an emotional infection within us that needs to be cleansed and healed.
What is jealousy? According to the scripture above, it’s something you desire that you don’t have and cannot obtain it. According to dictionary.com jealousy is resentment against a rival for what they have. It is also considered mental uneasiness from suspicion or fear of rivalry, unfaithfulness, etc. Jealousy is a horrible emotion to have to deal with and the Bible makes it clear:
“Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?” (Proverbs 27:4)
Jealousy has a way of turning people into monsters at times. When we see others receive promotions that we know we have worked hard for, this can make us jealous many times due to rejection. This quickly turns into anger and before we know it, we become something we don’t want to be. For some, it remains small (but still a problem that needs correcting) as we just don’t talk to the person who received the promotion like we use to and continue holding jealousy and anger towards them. But if left unhealed, it can turn to major problems such as sabotaging the person’s work, gossip, not responding to their requests, etc. King Saul was anointed by God to be king but he became jealous of David because of David’s popularity with the people as we see in 1 Samuel 18. Instead of Saul being grateful to have someone on his team who was an outstanding warrior, he feared David’s popularity would cause the people to want David as their king instead. Saul was afraid of losing his position as king. This is another reason for jealousy…fear of being removed from our positions. We feel threatened when someone is doing a better job than we are especially if we are in a position of authority. We fear being replaced. However, when we are an obedient servant of God and we do our work to the best of our ability, two things can happen:
- 1. God will protect our position that he has placed us in
- 2. If we are removed or replaced, God will provide a better position.
In Genesis 4, Cain became jealous of his brother Abel because his gift was accepted by God and Cain’s wasn’t. Cain no doubt felt rejected. God warned Cain that sin was crouching at his door and he better master it before it master’s him but Cain allowed his emotions to rule and his negative thoughts to continue and lured his brother out to the field and killed him. People can and do go to extreme’s in rages of jealousy and commit murder. This happens when we are not healed and allow our emotions to get out of control. A spouse becomes jealous when their husband/wife shows more attention to another person than what they are receiving. Insecurity within ourselves or within the marriage can cause this. Sometimes the reasoning behind the jealousy could be a fact…the other spouse flirts or has a pattern of adultery. Other times, it’s nothing more than niceness and that spouse has not given any cause for concern in the marriage but because the other spouse is struggling with jealousy due to insecurity and rejection issues and are not healed, they will see the opposite sex as a continual threat and put strain on the marriage. Each situation is different.
Many causes of arguments in families are due to jealousy at not having what another person has. In Joseph’s case, his brothers were jealous that their father, Jacob, favored Joseph over all of them and even gave him a coat of many colors. Joseph also had dreams that he would rise above or rule over his brothers. This caused much anger and jealousy with his brothers to the point they plotted his death. But he was instead sold as a slave and from that point on went through many trials and was even thrown in jail. But even when a slave or in jail God had favor on Joseph that those over him trusted him. Now, you’re thinking, this type of stuff doesn’t happen today. Sadly it does. Family members are mistreated out of jealousy of another and argue and fight over things that they want but don’t have which could be money, attention, material possessions, etc. James 3:14 states:
“But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth.”
We must check ourselves to see where we are at. Are you jealous or envious of someone elses popularity, position, material possessions, financial security, spouse or family. Do you ever go on social media like Facebook and see all the happy families or those taking wonderful vacations when your family is in turmoil and you barely have enough money to keep a roof over your head and feel envious or even angry over what they have and you don’t? Do you congratulate people who get promoted while you are still in the same spot as where you started or do you become angry thinking it should have been you? Do you get jealous when your spouse speaks with the opposite sex and react in a negative manner or argue with them over it? If you are in school, do you get jealous over someone else receiving better grades than you though you may have studied harder and want to be in their shoes? There are so many areas we could cover but jealousy, envy and bitter anger are becoming becoming more prevalent in our society and people are beginning to act out on their emotions. We must remember what the Lord said to Cain in Genesis 4:5-7:
“but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”
How do we overcome jealousy? First we must acknowledge it and repent of it, asking the Lord for forgiveness. We must surrender the emotion every time it hits us and ask God to replace it with humbleness. Next, whenever the emotion of jealousy comes up, we must ask ourselves why we are having these feelings and ask God to open our eyes to anything we may not see. It could stem from feeling rejected all of your life, or maybe things come hard for you when it comes so easy for others and you feel frustrated. You may need to speak with a Pastor, Priest or Christian counselor to get to the root of it. You have to also remember you have the authority to command the thoughts to leave in the name of Jesus. Next you must find scripture speaking against jealous and say it out loud whenever it hits you, reminding you and the enemy how wrong it is and then speak positive scripture into your life. It’s important to pray and read scripture daily to nourish ourselves with good nourishment so we do not become dry spiritually.
It takes time, but when we do something over and over, such as the above, it becomes a habit…a good habit! It will become second nature. Sometimes we simply have to ask God for what we would like but it can’t be out of a sinful heart because then it will do us no good.
When we approach God with our issues, He will guide us step by step on how to heal. It may take time and it may cause us some pain but it will be worth it in the end when we are healed!
Lord, I acknowledge to you today that I suffer from jealousy. I ask, Lord, that you will heal my infection with your Word, which is a living Word, and cleanse me of these unrighteous thoughts. Lord, show me the root cause of my jealousy and help me to remove it so I do not suffer from it any longer. Give me strength to stand up against any jealous thoughts and to overcome them. I trust in you Lord and I thank you for your healing hand upon me. I ask this all in the name of Jesus…Amen.