Have you ever thought about what jealousy does to healthy relationships? Have you found yourself resentful when a friend or someone you know has achieved something that you had desired to accomplish for yourself? Or, have you merely been resentful that another person was getting credit for what you feel you should be getting.
Jealousy Is A Real and Powerful Emotion
Jealousy produces an extreme amount of negative feelings. If you are jealous you may experience feelings that are resentful, angry, envious or anxious, that can lead to depression, loneliness, sadness and physical illness. If jealousy is a driving fuel in your life, you may also experience a sense of being excluded. Envy can also produce a mentality of feeling powerless.
Simply stated, jealousy of any type is created from a sense personal insecurity and poor self-esteem. It comes from a way of thinking that evolves when we feel that someone or a situation is perceived as a threat. It can also grow out of thinking that we have lost our status or place in life.
When someone is going through jealous emotions, they often do not handle their feelings well. A suspicious person does not take the time to think through why they feel the way they do. Instead, they will engage in adolescent and immature behavior. This type of behavior is fueled by attitudes of vengeful or vindictive behavior.
A Bible Lesson About What Jealousy Does
In the Old Testament book of Genesis, the Bible teaches that Adam and Eve’s son Abel was “a keeper of the flock” while his brother Cain was “a tiller of the ground.” On one occasion the two brothers brought offerings to the Lord, and the Lord showed favor for what Abel brought to offer him, but He did not show favor for what Cain brought. (Genesis 4:3-5) Why did this happen?
In Genesis 4:6-7 God explained why he took Abel’s offering above Cain’s. Abel brought the very best of his animals to sacrifice them to the Lord, Cain brought some of his crops, not the very best of the crop. The Lord even explained to Cain why he responded the way he did to Abel.
“Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” (Genesis 4:6-7)
When Cain heard these words, jealousy evolved!
It is evident from this scripture that “jealousy” was at work in Cain’s heart. The jealousy was creating anger within his heart, and the Creator saw it. If jealousy had not dominated Cain’s heart, God told him that his “countenance” would be lifted up. In other words, jealousy is obvious, and it was showing on Cain’s face.
Jealousy Is Not Easily Hidden
Jealousy shows itself in a very strong and powerful way. It manifested itself so strongly in the life and heart of Cain that “when they were in the field, …Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.” (Genesis 4:8)
How are you dealing with jealousy? It can be an overwhelming emotion! Is there a situation or a person in your life that is producing a jealous spirit within your heart? Never underestimate the power of having a jealous heart. It can be one of the most destructive emotions you have. The Lord told Cain that his problem was a matter of getting his hearts right. (Genesis 4:6-7) This is the case for anyone dealing with jealousy. If one is to overcome jealousy, it must begin within their heart.
How is your attitude when it comes to dealing with jealousy? Is it dominating your thinking? Do you see it as dangerous? Jealousy is one of the most destructive emotions in the heart of any man or woman. However, it can be overcome through the power and strength of the Holy Spirit! James wrote in his epistle to the early New Testament church,
“For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.” (James 3:16-17)