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Jealousy of the Divine Nature-A chapter from my book, "Entangled," about pornography addiction
Chapter 13- Jealousy of the Divine Nature
“…for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Exodus 13:14b
I write this chapter to you my friend, who have been scolded by the mockers and the scorners, by those who have told you that your jealousy is wrong. There are people in this world who will tell you that not only is it okay for your husband to look at pornography, but that it is good and right, and that you are wrong for having a problem with it. These same people will also tell you that you are just jealous and that your jealousy comes from your insecurity. If you were secure with yourself, as ‘they’ would say, you wouldn’t mind your husband drooling over nude photos of 18 year olds. Well, those people are wrong.
My knowledge about jealousy dates back many years, all the way back to November 11, 1984 (Sorry to give away your birth date little brother. Not really, just looking for another way to get you last, still!). Sure, he was cute and chubby and had the face of an angel, but I could have sworn I saw horns underneath those curly brown locks somewhere. The more my parents loved him, my polar opposite, the more sure I was that they hated me. Then came middle school. Her name was Jennifer. She was tall, athletic, and according to all the boys, pretty. Unlike the four eyed, buck toothed, pimply faced bench warmer named Yours Truly. Things got better looking in High School, and by things, I mean me. Eventually I joined the ranks of couples everywhere when I met the boy who would go on to steal my heart and so much more. My obsession with him would go on to cause me to inscribe “Property of Christy” on the back of his hand in ball point pen, which didn’t go over well with his friends to say the least. Shockingly enough, that relationship ended the way most high school relationships do and before long I had graduated college, married the man of my dreams, and found myself adjusting to mommyhood with three children in the first two years of marriage. Jealousy seemed to be a thing of the past, until that fateful day when I discovered that my husband was viewing pornography.
The jealousy I experienced for my husband was different. Jealousy can be interpreted several different ways. Usually this word falls under one of two categories, zealousy or envy. Which one describes you? We know that not all jealousy is wrong because the Bible tells us that God is jealous. In Exodus we find the Isrealites wandering through the dessert with Moses as the faithful leader to a seemingly faithless people who are prone to ‘cheat on God’ with their sexual practices (I chose this particular passage because I know you can relate). After talking to Moses about the need to cut down the Asherah poles (fertility goddess) of the people whose land the Isrealites were about to inherit, Moses says, “Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Exodus 34:14. So what makes God’s jealousy okay?
For the rest of this chapter I want to discuss with you the difference between healthy jealousy and unhealthy jealousy. Jealousy has a purpose in our lives beyond the destructive nature that this term has been associated with. Much like fear, which can be sinful when we allow it to control us but a blessing when used to call our attention to a dangerous threat, jealousy can have its benefits too.
First of all, healthy jealousy is for a person. Unhealthy jealousy is of a person. Let’s take the example of a jealous wife who just caught her husband viewing pornography again, since this is an example that hits so close to home, literally. The healthy wife is jealous for her husband. The unhealthy wife is jealous of the women in the photographs and on the computer screen. The healthy wife desires that all of her husband’s sexual energy be directed towards her because it is better for their marriage. She knows the value of sexual monogamy and the blessing they can experience as husband and wife when sex is viewed as a sacred thing between a man and his wife alone. She is upset by her husband’s actions. She knows he has sinned against her, and his God, and longs prayerfully to see him repent. The unhealthy wife criticizes the women in the pictures (in her mind or aloud), compares herself to them, and bitterly mourns her inability to achieve physical perfection.
When you are jealous of a person you are jealous of something they have. This could be anything from great hair to a great job, but they have it. Physically, mentally, spiritually, or materialistically they have it and some part of you wishes that you had it too. When you are jealous for a person, you already have them (as a friend, family member, etc.), but you want them to want you more than they currently do. This desire comes out of your genuine love for them. Paul gives us a Biblical example of this in 2 Corinthians, “I am jealous for (italics mine) you with a godly jealousy.” He goes on to explain his fear that the Corinthians might be led astray by false teachers known as “super-apostles,” saying, “But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.” I may not be a trained speaker (note the awareness of his weaknesses ladies, almost sounding a little insecure. Can any of you relate?), but I do have knowledge...” (2 Corinthians 11:6a) Paul is defending his rightful place (given authority by God to be an apostle and teacher to them) amongst the Corinthians. They are his ministry and he is their apostle sent from God. He has them already, as we talked about earlier, but he is aware of how these other men might damage all the relational structures Paul has worked to build up between this people and our God. I love this next part ladies because there are a few people I’d like to cut the ground from under too! Paul says, “And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about (the rest of the passage infers that they boasted to be servants of Christ, servants of righteousness, but were not). 2 Corinthians 11:12. Those nude models do not share equality with you in your marriage. They want an opportunity to be the object of your spouse’s sexual desire, it is a profitable business for them, but we will keep on doing what we are doing in order to cut the ground from under their plat formed feet!
One last thing that I want to mention on this note, healthy jealousy wants something we should have. Unhealthy jealousy wants something we think we should have. How do we know the difference? Sometimes we don’t, but if we are experiencing a healthy jealous for something, then we will trust God for that thing we desire, rather than scraping and clawing for it ourselves. If we really should have it, and by that I mean that God wants it for you, then we can trust God to give it to us in His timing, not ours. Now that doesn’t mean that we should sit by idly and wait, but it does mean that until it is ours we proceed with the understanding that He is in control and we can’t force change. And in the case of married couples everywhere, a wife should have her husband’s undivided sexual attention. I pray God will do a mighty work in your men to save them from their addiction to pornography so that they can give you the sexual monogamy every married couple should have.