This is a post that’s very personable to me. I want to talk about my struggles with jealousy and envy in the hopes that (1) someone can relate and (2) to offer some encouragement. I feel this is a subject not often talked about in Christian circles. That may be that we don’t want to admit that it’s a problem for us. And, if we’re honest, we don’t really want to feel envious at all. We want to be happy for everyone as God blesses others.
My struggles with jealousy stem mostly when I see someone who’s blessed with something that I have yearned for all my life. It reminds me of the many financial and career mistakes I’ve made that leaves me feeling I’ll never see my dreams come true. My heart feels empty and I’m overcome with despair. I find myself thinking how nice it must be for people who live well and have no money worries. At this juncture in my life, I’m not sure if I can attain my aspirations. I keep working hard, hoping and praying things will change. Hope is sometimes all I have to go on.
I also think that we feel what the other person has is somewhat better than what we have. For example, I may be thinking that I want my hair to be wavy like the sister who sits two rows in front of me in church and she might be wishing her hair was straight like mine! But, what I don’t always consider is nobody’s life is perfect.
The thing is…when I’m feeling jealous rather than happy for that person, I’m really complaining that my life is somehow messed up. And the weird thing is, I had a lady say to me once that she wishes she was as talented as I am. I thought to myself, “WHAAAAT?!” “How can she say that?” “I’ve worked all my life for scraps, if she only knew!”
But that’s my point…the grass is never greener on the other side. I think the reason jealousy is a sin and something God hates is because He wants to bless all of us individually. So, if we all had what the other guy has, then where is the uniqueness, the differences?
God loves diversity, He made us all different in many ways. So when I envy another person’s success or valuables, what I’m really saying to God is He hasn’t blessed me or what He’s given me isn’t good enough. And I know that’s not true, there’s been many blessings that have come my way.
So here’s two pieces of advice I give myself and you when that jealousy spirit tries to rise up…
- Rejoice with friends, families, or strangers when they are blessed. And, if they have something I want or desperately need, tell God about it specifically and ask Him to help me be content where I am.
- Never let jealousy get out of control. Admit that it is sin and repent of it right away; don’t hold it in and let it fester. It can turn destructive if it’s not dealt with.
Let’s also see what the Bible has to say about envy:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13:4 – (NIV)
But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. – James 3:14 (NIV)
For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. – James 3:16 (NIV)
Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. -Galatians 5:26 (NIV)
In 1 Corinthians, it seems that when we allow love to be the dominant force in our hearts, then there will be no room for envy to live. Let’s strive to live on the love of Christ.
I’m glad I wrote this post because I pondered over it a few days wondering whether to share this or not. But, by bringing it out, maybe it’ll help if you struggle with envy and jealousy too.
I also want you to know you’re not alone. We’re in this fight together and The Lord truly understands our weaknesses and He knows just how to help us win these battles 🙂