Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming but who can stand before jealousy? (Proverbs 27:4)
I'd bet if I asked most of you are driven by jealousy and envy you would answer NO very quickly. I would too. If you are like me you probably equate being driven by jealousy similarly to being consumed by jealousy. However, there is a huge difference in those words, driven and consumed.
By definition being driven means you are compelled or have an urge, being consumed means to take in, to expend, or to destroy.
The recent shootings at the theater in Colorado are so frightening and unsettling. My heart breaks for those parents who children did not return home after the midnight showing. Like several others that I know, I also had a child who also went to the theater for the midnight opening here in SC. I cannot shake the feeling that the person who committed this crime must have been consumed by some type of jealousy. Something he felt he could not have but deserved, perhaps something as simple as attention or notoriety in his case. Who knows? Only God!
I won't attempt to define the word jealousy here. Did you know that the definition for jealousy is even hotly debated by scientists? My first thoughts on this were huh, why? But then if you think about it wisely you can understand how we all seem to have our very own definitions of jealousy.
Sometimes we think of jealousy as being acceptable. You know, as in being just a little bit jealous or envious, just a tad. I know that I have allowed myself to feel envy many times lately. My latest subject of envy involves the woman who operates a fruit and vegetable stand with her husband here in my little town. I cannot help but look on her with envy when I pass by on my way to work. I see her there in the mornings uncovering their wares underneath the roof a very old broken down shack of a building that used to be a corner store back in it's hay day. It is now literally is a decrepit old wooden shack. She is usually clad in cut off blue jeans, no makeup, barefoot and holding a baby on her hip. The baby is just one of many small children along with a few teens on occasion. Her hair is usually pulled up high in a loosely contained ponytail in attempt to escape the heat of day and her body is nicely tanned and very well toned. I am assuming she is so fit from from all the hard labor of growing a crop to sell by the roadside. I am jealous because I think she has the life! No pressures, and no worries from the conventional lifestyle that I lead. She is a farmers wife, complete with a bustle of children an adorable farm house, a field of fresh food and a schedule set by the pace of her own choosing. But the truth is, I really don't know. I don't know her story at all. I've never stopped to ask about her story. I have stopped and bought delicious tomatoes from her, though I have not inquired about her lifestyle. Perhaps it was jealousy keeping me from getting to know her more or a fear of sounding rude. I also don't want to face the fact that she might even laugh at my jealousy of her simple lifestyle.
If I were to move beyond my envy I might just make a new friend. In fact the truth is that if I were to let go of all the jealousy's which are holding me back in life there might be something more. The bible speaks very clearly about being wary of jealousy and envy yet we still do not take it very seriously.
And I saw, that all labor and all achievement spring from man’s envy of his neighbor. This too is meaningless, a chasing of the wind. (Ecclesiastes 4:4)
This verse and the ones that follow the verse above teach us quite a bit about the hollowness of chasing after that of another. For when you are so busy looking at another you are not focused on all that you have and have been given. Jealousy not only destroys the chance of true friendships and relationships but it also eats away at the relationship we have our lord, Jesus Christ. Unwittingly perhaps, allowing jealously in your life pulls your trust away from God our provider. Satan will use whatever he can to destroy that trust. Destroying friendships and relationships which are at the heart of Christ is what jealousy and envy will do if you allow it too..."who can stand? ".
Did you notice the question mark at the end of the first verse? I did! It's there! It questions us (or me) to stop and think. There is no doubt that jealously and envy are deeply rooted in this world. But we can take a stand against it. We cannot cure the jealousy of another but we can surely work on our own hearts thus opening the door to others. Will you also take a stand against jealousy? You and I can trust in the Lord to show us the way.
I am sharing this with you today as part of my own
Sharing Jesus Sundays.
I hope you enjoyed this long overdo devotional style post today as I attempt to share with you my thoughts and love for Jesus Christ and his word.
Have a blessed Sunday!