When I was younger I spent a lot of time with a family that lived up the road from us, I always felt that the girl had all the toys and games that I wanted… including a Mr Frosty; an oak tree that opened into a doll house; and one of those mini oven/kitchen things. I was jealous… so jealous that I still remember it today. When I was in sixth form my brother got diagnosed with cancer, I felt like suddenly I was unimportant, and that he was getting all of the love and attention. I was jealous.
I have chosen these two examples because I think they refer to two different types of jealousy that we all experience. Jealousy of people’s possessions and jealousy of relationships. We all experience jealousy, it is a human flaw, and once again I’m not necessarily going to give you advice to stop being jealous, but consider the effects that jealousy can have.
Our thought for the week comes from Gary Allen who says
“You can be the moon and still be jealous of the stars”
No matter who we are, what our circumstances, we are likely to be jealous of someone else. So many of us may have had dreams of being famous, but how many times do we hear stories of people who are famous who miss the anonymity of walking down the street and not being recognised; of not having their entire lives scrutinised by the press. When we are children we are desperate to become adults, but when we are adults we miss the freedom and excitement and lack of responsibility that comes with being a child!
Lets take my two examples… the toys… I had so many games and toys, so why has it stuck in my brain that I wanted the ones my friend had? It turns out, she felt the same about my toys and games. I think our parents actually decided together what to get as we spent so much time together. I had so much but I wanted what I didn’t have. I admit I feel awful that I was jealous of my brother with cancer, but I’m just being honest. The truth, again, is that I wasn’t being ignored, in fact my parents did arrange some extra things with me and for me to ensure I didn’t feel it. But all I could see was that I was always being asked how he was, he was getting all the visits in the hospital and treats, whilst I had to get on with my everyday life.
Its about perception, we may have everything we need, but there is always that one thing which someone else has that we want and are convinced will make our lives better.
Adam and Eve were in paradise, they had 1:1 access to God, they could eat from any tree that they wanted except for one… but all Eve had to be told was that the fruit looked much nicer on that one and that it would bring special powers… so she ate it and that was that!
So… what does the Bible say about jealousy? There are many examples of it, especially with sibling rivalry, and even with the disciples wanting to know which disciple was favourite. This sh was, that it is human, but advice doesn’t really come… but Proverbs tells us “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” We cannot necessarily stop jealousy but we can know the effects of it. It doesn’t literally rot our bones but it can take away our enjoyment of life if we are constantly comparing what we have with other people. What benefit can it have to want what other people have? That’s what advertisers rely on, is that need to make better lives. That can only happen by buying one of their products. How many times does that ACTUALLY happen though?
So jealousy is going to happen, but when it does, when you get that feeling of “I wish I had that” or “their life is better than mine” take the time to stop and think abut all the good that is in your life, things to be thankful for, what will that thing/person add to your life. It’s not about not being jealous it’s about being content with what you have, that will bring you peace, and as proverbs says, that peace will bring you life.
Challenge: go through all the things in your life that you are grateful for and give thanks for them.
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for everything that you provide us with, we are sorry that we always seem to want more than we have. Help us to being content with what we have, and live the life that we have been given. Amen