My name is Josh and I tend to be a jealous person. I hate to admit it, but it’s true.
If I’m honest, this particular post is more for me personally, but I figured there are some out there who probably need to hear it too.
So about the topic…
On the outside, jealousy usually looks pretty… well, normal? It smiles, courtesy laughs, compliments others and sometimes even jokes around a little.
And THAT, I contend, is one of the things that makes jealousy SO dangerous. It lurks undetected in the darkest corners of our hearts… until it doesn’t.
The catfight, the social media war, and the family dispute that seemingly comes out of nowhere are not as random as they might initially appear; they are actually manifestations of long held, deep-seated jealousy.
Jealousy truly is a silent killer.
Here’s some things you need to know about jealousy:
1. Jealousy is rooted in pride.
Funny… it’s usually those we are jealous of that we accuse of being prideful.
“She’s so vain…” we say. And really, that might be true, she may be vain. However, why should his/her vanity matter to you anyway? Tell me again how their pride directly affects you on a daily basis?
The reason I say that jealousy is rooted in pride is because jealousy always wants to make it all about you. Jealousy tells you that YOU are the model citizen… YOU are the standard and NO ONE should be allowed to live better than you do. And IF they do? Well… you’ll tear them to shreds with your words calling them everything from vain to prideful to self-indulgent.
2. Jealousy is never satisfied.
Proverbs 27:20 says, “Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.”
This. Is a big one.
Crazy thing about jealousy is that nothing is EVER enough.
Think about that person you tend to be jealous of for one reason or another. C’mon be honest. You know who they are.
Now, imagine that in the next 5 minutes, you will suddenly possess EVERYTHING that they have. Their nice lil family, their cool job, their house, their vehicles, everything… Are you there in your mind yet? Ok, good.
Pretty sweet isn’t it?!
Ok, now ask yourself is there ANYthing else that you might EVER want after that point? Be honest. ANYTHING.
If the answer is even a faint, “yes”, then you just proved my point.
Even IF you suddenly had what they have, you’d still be left wanting.
Think about it, hasn’t that already happened in your life, time & time again? Haven’t you already beat those dead horses into the ground? What makes you think that this time would be any different?
3. Jealousy makes you do stupid stuff.
Amazed at my extensive vocabulary aren’t you?
Proverbs 6:34 says, “For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.”
Ever watch those crime shows? Not the scripted ones that everybody loves with initials for titles… the real ones. The ones where they interview detectives, policemen, witnesses, family members and others. What is the motive of the murder almost always somehow linked to? Yep. You guessed it. Jealousy.
Jealousy causes you to not think clearly. Jealousy will sacrifice sound judgment on the altar of the heat of the moment.
- Jealousy puts you in a rebound relationship to get back at the person who hurt you.
- Jealousy makes purchases you can’t really afford so that you might, “Keep up with the Joneses.”
- Jealousy makes you irrationally critical of other people’s lives.
- Jealousy drives a wedge between lifelong friends.
4. Jealousy breaks God’s heart.
Jealousy is in direct violation of at least two of the Ten Commandments.
Jealousy covets and then makes a god out of the coveted. Kind of a double whammy isn’t it?
Jealousy takes God off the throne of our hearts and replaces Him with something immeasurably cheaper.
“I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold… but nah, I really would like a lot of money.”
“I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause… but seriously, racking up likes and comments on social media is important to me.”
“I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame… but honestly, I would LOVE to be famous.”
See what I’m saying?
Jesus is really ALL that we need. But if we let jealousy have its place in our heart, we will catastrophically miss one of the most important truths this side of heaven.
Treatments for jealousy
So, maybe you’re like me, and tend to struggle with chronic jealousy. What do you do? Here’s a short list of treatment options that you can begin implementing today.
1. Step back from social media.
I know, I know. This seems pretty random. It’s not though. Hear me out.
Studies show that consuming an inordinate amount of social media each day has an adverse effect on mental health. There’s a hundred different reasons why this is, but one of them happens to be depression. It’s no secret that those who run through gigs of data on their mobile device scrolling through hundreds of social media posts tend to show more depressive tendencies than those who don’t.
Why is this?
Because social media is kinda set up that way if you think about it?
Let’s run through a few different types of social media posts real quick and compare them to what jealousy’s response usually is.
(SM = Social Media & J = Jealousy)
SM: “Look at my new car guys!”
J: “Don’t you wish you had a nice ride like that?”
SM: “Y’all, I’ve lost 25 lbs!”
J: “Don’t you wish you had that kind of discipline in your life?”
SM: “Look at this awesome place we’re at!”
J: “Don’t you wish you had the money to do cool stuff like that?”
SM: “Look at my beautiful family!”
J: “Don’t you wish you had picture perfect family like they do?”
Do you see what I’m saying? It’s just not a good thing to immerse yourself in it every single day for hours a day. It’s just not.
I’ll tell you one of the things I’ve done that’s helped me tremendously. I’ve taken all social media off of my phone completely. I have an iPad I leave at home that has the apps on it; so, I can look when I have some spare time, but not all day. This drastically reduces my screen time day to day.
Turn it off bro. Go outside. Enjoy your family. Start a new hobby. Get together with a friend. Whatever. Just put the phone down for goodness sake.
2. Stop comparing journey to journey.
We’re all on this wonderful journey called life. Awesome, isn’t it? The problem is that we often compare our journey to someone’s else’s… and that’s not a good thing. Let me explain what I’m taking about.
I’m a newly minted pastor of a small church in rural Mississippi. I love my people, I love the ministry and I love sharing the Word of God.
Unfortunately though, I’m impatient, and as I mentioned before, I also struggle with jealousy.
So, what I’m prone to do is compare myself and my ministry with others who may be demographically similar. I’ll look at other ministers and churches and think, “Man, I wish we had that kind of spirit at our church”, or “I wish our auditorium was full like theirs is”, or “It seems like their really seeing some fruit over there.” Blah, blah, blah.
The factor I often don’t include when my heart leans into jealousy is this…
I’m LITERALLY brand new to pastoring. I mean like, less than 6 months. “Still wet behind the ears” as the old timers used to say. So, how laughable is it for somebody like me to make an upward comparison to someone in a similar situation that’s been at it for 5 years, or even 15?
Same thing goes for you.
Stop comparing your family situation to someone else’s.
Stop comparing your income level to someone else’s.
Stop comparing your body to someone else’s.
Stop comparing your skills or talent to someone else’s.
You are own your own unique journey that God has tailored just for you in His own time, not yours.
3. Realize others are likely jealous of you.
Me? Man, no way! Actually, yes…
You see, while you’re down in the dumps thinking about all the things you don’t have, other people would be ecstatic with some of the simple joys you possess.
While you’d love to have a picture-perfect body, others long to simply have ONE single, solitary day without chronic pain.
While you’d love to have a nice, shiny new truck, others would love to simply own a car. That runs.
While you’d love some peace and quiet away from your kids, others just wish they could hear the patter patter of little feet for once in their life.
While you complain about your spouse’s bad habits, others simply long for companionship. Period.
Somebody always wants what you’ve got.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could ever just get to the point where we are just happy with what we have? 1 Timothy 6:6 tells us that it’s a great place to be…
“But godliness with contentment is great gain.”
I have a two year old boy.
I love love LOVE that kid.
One of the things that I love about my boy (and pretty much every other toddler) is that he doesn’t struggle with big people issues like his daddy does.
He doesn’t have the capacity in his heart or mind for something like jealousy. He’s just… happy.
Even when there is a dispute with another toddler over who gets to play with the John Deere tractor toy, he’ll just have a good cry (sometimes a full-blown meltdown) but then after that, it’s over. He doesn’t lie awake at night thinking about all the stuff he doesn’t have. He doesn’t fret over what it’s gonna take to get ahead of everybody else in life. He’s not even thinking about what He’s going to eat tomorrow. He just naturally assumes that mommy and daddy are gonna take care of Him. He just… lives.
I think we could learn a lot from that.
Jealousy will kill your happiness, your joy and your contentment.
Jealousy strains relationships, budgets and raises stress levels.
Jealousy IS a killer.
Don’t let it kill you.
It’s your choice.