Jealousy: 1. The feeling of resentment against a rival or a person enjoying success or advantage. 2. The feeling of wanting something someone else has. 3. The feeling of being angry at someone because they are better off than you, or they have what you want.
“A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones.” (Proverbs 14:30)
“A stone is heavy and sand is weighty, but the resentment caused by a fool is even heavier. Anger is cruel, and wrath is like a flood, but jealousy is even more dangerous.” (Proverbs 27:3-4)
Oh how often I look at other people’s lives through rose colored glasses. I look at their ‘lawn’ and see that it is better looking, it is healthier, and it is so much greener than my lawn. This causes feelings of resentment to bubble up inside me and then I begin to feel angry because I start to think that they have something that I don’t have.
The Bible actually says that wanting what your neighbor has is like chasing the wind. “I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 4:4)
I have to be honest, I have a long-standing problem with chasing the wind.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s as a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a pastor, a writer, a scrap-booker, a nurse or a runner…you name it, whenever I examine myself I find myself playing the comparison game where I end up being jealous and envious of my ‘neighbor’.
“She’s a faster runner. She’s smaller and thinner than me. She’s prettier. She writes better. She has more friends. She has a bigger house. She drives a nicer car. She’s better at making people feel welcome in her home. She’s a better cook. She’s a more devoted wife. She’s smarter. She’s a better nurse. She prays more. She has a better sense of style. She knows her Bible better. She’s more available and ‘there’ for her children. She has a better relationship with her mother. She has nicer clothes. She’s more creative. She sings better.”
She’s more Godly…
I hate to admit it, but I am a Green-Eyed Monster.
Lysa TerKeurst sums up exactly how I feel in her book “Unglued“:
“I get unglued when my thoughts entangle around what she has and I don’t…I stand in front of the mirror and all I see is what is lacking. What I am not. What I don’t have. What I can’t do…And the more I compare, the emptier I become…comparison steals celebration. And a life void of celebration is a life empty…We get empty when we park our minds on comparison thoughts and wallow in them…Wallowing in jealous thoughts leads to death…Jealousy and envy cut deeper and deeper until we bleed empty. We lose perspective on what we do have and soon focus only on what we don’t have.”
As I’ve discovered, the problem is, when I lose perspective I start to become ‘unglued’ and that’s when those ugly emotions spill out on other people like raw, rotten sewerage.
I have to remember that the life I have been given has been given to ME, by God, for a purpose and a reason. When I constantly keep wishing and hoping and dreaming and being jealous of my neighbor’s life, I am wasting everything that God has given me for the life He has called me to live. When I am constantly living with my head stuck over the fence trying to reach the greener grass in the neighbor’s paddock I allow the jealousy and envy to cut so deep that I bleed until I’m empty.
And that’s exactly what satan wants. He wants me to be empty. He wants me to be devoid of life and hope and of celebration. He wants me to want what God has entrusted to someone else. More than that, he wants me to be jealous of what others have. He wants me to be envious about what I perceive I don’t have and by doing this, I am robbed of the joy I should feel for living my life the way God planned and purposed for me.
The truth is, the grass isn’t greener on the other side. It’s greener on the side where I water it.
So, rather than thinking about what I don’t have, what I can’t do and what I think I am not, I will always fix my mind on truth.
I will think about who I am. I will think about what I have. And I will think about what I can do. And I will water those truths.