The Green-Eyed Monster
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
Quote from Pray While You’re Prey:
“We shouldn’t even think about what God has given someone else other than to thank Him for blessing that person. And if the person is not of God, we really shouldn’t care about her earthly possessions because our reward is in Heaven.”
This story is in the book, Pray While You’re Prey, but it bears repeating.
So, there I was minding my own business in the lounge at my law school, when a classmate and so-called friend of mine burst in the room in a huff. “What’s the matter?” I asked. “I hate you,” she replied. I thought for sure that she was kidding, but she wasn’t. She began to berate me for having a husband, good grades and an active social life. She admitted, on more than one occasion, that she was jealous of me. If there was ever a clear depiction of exactly what the Bible tells us not to do in Exodus 20:17, this was it. Most of us aren’t as bold as this sister because we envy in secret.
Now, before we go on getting all holier-than-thou about this sister’s attitude, we need to check ourselves. There have been MANY times when I have felt the same way, but just didn’t say it. What she didn’t know and later came to realize was that my marriage was failing and studying and having a social life were an escape for me. I learned a couple of things from this situation, though. First, jealousy often blinds us to the truth. Second, it’s called the green-eyed monster because a monster is exactly what envy turns us into.
For me, the root of my jealousy is not that I am unhappy for the person who is being blessed. I find myself truly giddy when others are experiencing joyful circumstances. I am jealous because I do not know when or how my blessing will come to pass. I get jealous because it seems that everything is going so well for other people, and I am trying to live the right kind of life, yet not getting the desires of my heart. So, I really do not have a problem with the other person. I, dare I say it, have a problem with God. And, once we enter into the state where we think we know better than God, the devil has us right where he wants us.
We start to see things that aren’t there like my friend saw with my “happy” marriage. (In her defense, I am one heck of an actress, so we did appear to be deliriously happy even when the complete opposite was true). In any case, the root of jealousy starts with the mentality that we deserve something or that God owes us something in our lives and we mistakenly feel that He has given it to someone else. And, if you have ever seen four-year-olds on a playground, you know how nasty things can get when a person feels that someone else has what should be hers. Here comes the monster!
So, how do we fix this problem? First, stop looking around. Stop fixating on what others have. I mean, this was one of the original Ten for a reason. Second, stop looking down. We must stop looking down on others when they are blessed and stop looking down on ourselves when we do not get what we want when we want it. Finally, start looking up. Look to God for peace and patience, not possessions. He has already given us more than we deserve and He owes us nothing. Yet, He is still merciful and gracious and will provide our every need. We either believe that or we don’t.
So, if we know that God will provide our every need, there is no reason to be jealous of anyone else. I have had people jealous of me (at least they were according to my mom) and I have been the jealous one. The only One with a right to be jealous is God because He is the only One who has invested enough in us to have our full, undivided attention. The green-eyed monster needs to go away for good; it is not a good look for anyone, but especially for a Christian.
Thank You, God for providing all of my needs
according to Your riches in glory.
Please forgive me for being jealous of what others have.
Lord, please help me to stay in my lane and focus on You.
In Jesus’ Name,
*Scripture quotations are from the New International Version ©1984, unless otherwise indicated.