What Is JealousyQUESTION: What Is Jealousy?ANSWER:
What is jealousy? According to Webster's dictionary, jealousy is described as "the state of being jealous." In order to unravel the circular reasoning we must discover what jealous means. Jealous is a resentful envy as of someone's success, achievements, advantages, etc.
Envy and jealousy are closely related, however a connotation difference exists. To quote Webster, "Envy denotes a longing to possess something awarded to or achieved by another. . .Jealousy, on the other hand, denotes a feeling of resentment that another has gained something that one more rightfully deserves. Jealousy also refers to anguish caused by fear of losing someone or something to a rival."
As you may have gathered from the above explanations, jealousy can be unhealthy or healthy, depending on your motivation. Unhealthy jealousy stems from fear, insecurity, deception, or covetousness. When you feel yourself acting out in jealousy, you need to examine the reason why you feel jealous.
Does a threat truly exist or is your perception off base? When you are battling insecurity, another person's achievements may come across to you as a threat. For example, a co-worker gets a raise for putting in extra hours on an important subject. Instead of being thrilled for him, you feel jealous even though you did not put the same hours in. You take his promotion as a personal reflection on you.
Next time you feel the angst of jealousy creep into your chest stop, think, and discern the source of jealousy. Once you discover why you are jealous you need to deal with the issue.
Jealousy is not all bad. A healthy jealousy needs to be developed in family relationships. This type of jealousy is a protective fight to maintain your relationships. Would you sit by while a person seduces your spouse or deceives your child? No, you would fight for them. You would do all you could to declare truth.
God demonstrates protective jealousy in a similar way. Exodus 34:14 gives insight to the nature of God: "Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God." Our allegiance belongs to God alone. He is zealous to bring each human being into a rejuvenating relationship with Him. His protective jealousy is a wondrous comfort to those who believe and honor Christ as the ultimate authority.