Overcoming Jealousy - A Daily Challenge
Overcoming jealousy is easier said than done! Whether it is a conscious word or a thought in the back-of-your-mind, jealousy is something we all struggle with daily. Sometimes those little thoughts that creep into our minds don't seem like jealousy… but are they?
"It's not fair that Steve gets more vacation time than I do."
"Kelly's children are so well behaved. I wish mine were obedient, so I'd look like a better parent."
"Derek just got a new SUV. I wish I could have one!"
"Meredith got that promotion at work when I deserved it!"
"Daren's biceps are perfect. I'm going to work out until mine look just like his."
What is jealousy? According to Webster, the word jealous means "resentful and envious, as of someone's success, achievements, advantages…"
Overcoming Jealousy - A Personal Story
I had been working at the same business for several years and was used to people asking me computer questions. I didn't exactly enjoy the interruptions, but I did my best to be helpful. Then Kelly joined my department. I enjoyed Kelly's company and thought she was a good addition to our office staff. Before long, I noticed people started flocking to Kelly with their computer questions. At first I was relieved to be rid of the interruptions. But then it hit me. No one needs me anymore. I'm just another office staff. I did not like that! Jealous thoughts raged through my head. Why is she suddenly the expert? What makes her better than me? I can answer their questions better!
Overcoming Jealousy -- What's the Big Deal?
You may be like me - overcoming jealousy is a constant challenge. However, I know firsthand that when jealousy is not overcome, it leads to bitterness. The Bible addresses jealousy. James 3:16 says, "For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing." From this wisdom, we learn that wrong thinking produces wrong living. When we have thoughts of jealousy or feelings of envy, our lives will be characterized by confusion, disorder, and worthlessness. Nothing good comes from an evil and jealous spirit. Dealing with jealousy is essential!
You may be thinking: "Surely overcoming jealousy is not always necessary!" You're right. There is a place for "good jealousy." However, very few of our jealous moments are justified. "True love is never envious, but it has a right to be jealous over those who are loved," says author Warren Wiersbe. For example, parents have the right to be jealous over their children and over anything that will harm their children's well-being. If jealousy was always evil, why would the Bible refer to God as being jealous? Deuteronomy 32:16 refers to God when it says, "They made him [God] jealous with their foreign gods and angered him with their detestable idols." God is characterized as jealous when we worship other gods. He is worthy of all honor and praise!
Overcoming Jealousy - The Remedy
What is the answer to overcoming jealousy? Is it possible? If I had not corrected my emotions and encouraged Kelly to be helpful to others, I'd still be upset about an insignificant issue. I would still hold bitterness in my heart toward her. Instead, I saw jealousy was quickly destroying my spirit and I needed to learn how to overcome jealousy.
If you are currently struggling with jealousy, I recommend you search your heart. There is a reason why jealousy is plaguing you. Most likely, something underlies your jealousy. For me, it was fear. I wanted to be needed and I feared that Kelly would take that away! My survival was threatened! I understood God was not pleased with my jealous spirit and He wanted to help me. I asked God to remove my envious thoughts toward Kelly and fill me with feelings of friendship for her.
Why not ask God to remove your jealous feelings? He is there to help you.